Each decade = 5 lbs less muscle, 15 lbs more fat.
Muscles burn calories at a high rate. With the decrease in muscle mass as we age, our resting metabolic rate decreases which means we burn less calories. It’s the same as going from an 8 cylinder engine in your car to a four cylinder engine – it burns less fuel. Our bodies need to do something with this excess fuel (calories) so it stores it as fat instead.
This explains why dieting is often not successful. Dieting aims to reduce the number of calories we intake. However, in this case the problem is not the number of calories we are taking in. The problem is that the calories we have taken in, cannot be used and then get stored as fat instead. Dieting can actually make the problem worse because dieting can further reduce muscle tissue and in turn, further reduce the resting metabolic rate.
If losing muscle is such a big problem, then what is the solution? Enter – strength training. Several studies have shown that strength training can increase muscle mass at essentially any age. Strength training exercise can add muscle, lose fat, increase resting metabolic rate, and increase daily energy expenditure.
As an added bonus strength training has been shown to increase bone density, decreasing the risk of osteoporosis. Another benefit is enhanced glucose metabolism which may decrease the risk of adult onset diabetes. It can increase gastrointestinal transit speed, thereby, decreasing the risk of colon cancer. Strength training has also been proven to reduce low back pain and arthritic pain. It has been shown to help reduce resting blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. Finally, strength training has been proven to have positive psychological effects such as reducing depression in older adults. There is no medication that can produce all these benefits!
If you need help with starting to strength train, let us know. We can help you choose safe methods of strengthening and how to properly progress over time.