I am occasionally asked if it is possible to build muscle mass and strength after the age of 60. It is a difficult, but not impossible, task to build up muscle mass in the senior years because the production of anabolic steroids (androgens acting like testosterone) is diminished with age.
That does not mean that it is impossible to maintain muscle strength. Muscle strength depends on two factors – muscle mass and muscle tone. Although muscle mass is lost with each passing decade, muscle tone can be maintained and even increased with appropriate exercise.
Types of Exercise
There are two basic types of exercise – aerobic exercise and resistance exercise. Aerobic exercise is the exercise used for running, tennis, etc.; while resistance exercise is the exercise used in lifting weights, doing push ups, etc.
We need to do both these exercise throughout our lifetime, but the exercise should be compatible with any physical limitations, injuries, or health issues we may have.
Although exercise of either type may not increase muscle mass, it can delay the progressive loss of additional muscle mass and maintain the muscle strength we have. In addition, exercise of both types decreases, but does not eliminate, the risk for osteoporosis, cardiac problems and cancer.
In summary, exercise of both types is essential, but should not be overdone as that can lead to injury. No matter how much exercise is done, a 60 year old cannot expect to have the strength of a similarly fit 30 year old.
For me, I still try to workout with my 10 and 15 pound sets of dumbbells (no, not my dumbbell friends) three times a week. Maybe it is psychological, but it makes me FEEL stronger.
Reminder to all that the Colonial deadline is Jan. 2 @ 5 PM; hopefully guys don’t lose track of the calendar with regards to the holidays and forget to sign up…….
Florida Cup Commissioner
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