Muscle mass is now seen as an endocrine organ and is therefore the biggest organ in the body. It also accounts for 40% of your total body mass.
When men reach 50 years of age, we start to see physiological changes that start to occur to the human body. One of the main issues is a steady decline in skeletal muscle mass (sarcopenia). More and more new research has been published showing the importance of skeletal muscle, especially in males as they age.
On average per decade men lose 10 pounds of lean muscle tissue after the age of 50. This is a huge change that not only affects your physical health (as previously thought), but your metabolic, mental and neurological health!
Research has shown your body is still highly responsive to strength training at any age. You just have to train smarter and listen to your body more so you can avoid any injuries along the way.
Increased lean muscle tissue (looks good aesthetically)*Increased metabolic rate (you burn more fat at rest and post exercise)
Increase in strength and power (you will feel energised)
Better body composition (you will feel more confident)
Increase in insulin sensitivity (more likely to store glucose in your muscles rather than stored as fat)
Increase in injury resistance (less likely to get niggling or acute injuries)
A common misconception is that cardio based exercise alone is enough to retain muscle mass. This is not the case as it doesn’t provide the correct stimulus to the body to force it to adapt. Your body doesn’t want to build more muscle as muscle tissue is the most energy consuming metabolic tissue in the body and as it carries out so many important roles.
I see strength training and cardio as a knife and fork. Bear with me. They are both great a doing their job, but you cannot do without either of them to achieve optimal long term fitness and health.
I would argue with all the recent research coming out about the benefits of strength training (see below) and the benefits of building muscle mass this should be the predominant form of exercise, for men especially.
If you are looking to feel better, more confident, energised, lose weight and gain muscle and strength, then strength training will give you all this and more. The benefits will be short and long term and will improve your quality of life now and in the future.
Increased lean muscle tissue
Increase in strength and performance
Increased metabolic rate
Increased quality of life
Increase / preserve joint health and cartilage
Increase injury resistance
Improved mental health
Lower all-cause mortality
Increased mobility and flexibility
Potential to reduce risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease
Improved cognitive function
Reduced risk and symptoms of chronic disease (Arthritis, Diabetes and Heart Disease)
Increase in insulin sensitivity
Increase / preserve bone density
And many more. New research is coming out all the time highlighting how powerful strength training is and the importance of muscle mass as we all age.
Ben Hampson is a qualified personal trainer and the Founder of The Get Strong Grandad’s. He has a degree in sport rehabilitation and offers online coaching to men over 50.
Ready to build some muscle and future proof your life? Contact Ben at The Get Strong Grandad’s