You can still start building muscle after 50. As we grow older it becomes more important to get our muscles in check. By the time we hit 40, our metabolism will start to take a slow run. Still, it’s not a hindrance toward maintaining a healthy body.
Here, we will give you a general guide on how to build muscles as well as a whey powder supplement that will blend perfectly with it.
NOTE: The results will vary per person. If you have lingering conditions, it’s best to seek the approval of your physician first before signing up to any workout or diet plan.
Why we lose muscles as we grow old
Muscle loss, or Sarcopenia, is a condition that affects people 50 years old and over. After reaching the peak of muscle building at 30, our muscle mass will start to dwindle the moment we reach the age of 40.
The loss of muscle can happen fast, especially if the person has a sedentary lifestyle. If the person is inactive, they can lose as much as 5% of muscle mass after every decade past the age of 30.
Aside from losing muscles, we also gain weight as we inch close to seniorhood. Our metabolism slows down and fat storage becomes more rampant. So as we lose muscles, we gain fats. This can be an alarming condition, much so for people with diabetes and other underlying conditions.
The good news is that there are ways to fight this condition from getting the best of you. Exercise and proper diet will keep your muscles intact. In fact, there are many 50+ individuals who can still lift weights and do strenuous routines.
Reasons to build muscles at 50
There are many benefits to keeping up with your muscle as you grow older. For one, enough muscle mass will allow a better range of motion and it will also help you lose weight.
Most of all, healthy muscle bass aids your bones. Since there are fibers that will handle the stresses of daily movements, your bones won’t suffer that much. It will prevent the joints from aching while reducing the risk of osteoporosis, loss of balance, arthritis, and joint problems.
Also, keeping our muscle mass at a later age will give us more vigor. Enough exercise will help retain the coordination of our movements while reducing the chances of injuries.
And guess what, it can spark your metabolism to come into life. As you know, muscles are our fat incinerator.
If you’re building muscle after 50, here are some of our recommendations for your workout. Again, consult a physician first and ask the help of a professional trainer before trying any of these:
1. Always stretch and warm up
Never underestimate the value of warming up before doing exercise. The simple act of stretching will prep your current muscles for a more strenuous routine. This will prevent injuries while you perform your drills.
A five-minute warm-up can go a long way. By raising the heart rate little by little, you won’t run out of breath while doing a more extreme routine.
Always start slow and take your time if you feel like five minutes isn’t enough. Also, pick a warm-up routine that suits your strength. Roller warm-ups might be a bit challenging if you feel a bit weak at the start.
So to save you from the hassle, here’s a five-minute warm-up routine courtesy of the National Institute on Aging.
2. Dumbbell routines
At this age, dumbbells are your best buddies. The likes of dumbbell bench press will help tone your shoulder, chest, and triceps. But unlike how younger bodybuilders do it, you have to modify it to suit your aging joints.
If you’re physically well and you have a trainer with you, you can try the barbell bent row. We suggest that you start with the lightest weights on the bar. It’s effective in strengthening your back and arms. However, not all 50+ individuals can do this. Always tweak this routine based on your skills.
Still, don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone if your trainer suggests another routine. As long as it’s tailored to your physique, it should help you pack up with muscles.
But for starters, here’s a simple dumbbell routine that you can do:
3. Kettlebell squats
Squats are simple yet very powerful drills when it comes to toning your core and carving your leg muscles. Still, you should always do this in the right form to prevent any injuries or pulling a muscle.
Like dumbbells, kettlebells are great weights that you can use at home or in the gym. If you worry about your dumbbell grip, you can use kettlebells as substitutes.
While squatting, you can lift a pair of kettlebells to add on the muscle-building effect. This is great in building the muscles on your shoulder.
You can also perform simple lifts while sitting or standing up. Like the other routines, feel free to adjust the workout based on your liking.
Here’s a kettlebell routine that you can do. Make sure to follow the guy in orange for the beginner drills!
4. Overhead press
Next, you can do the overhead press. You can do this with kettlebells or a pair of dumbbells. What matters is you start with a strong core and proper posture.
Spread your feet in a moderate distance while you hold each weight at the side of your body. Start by lifting the kettlebells or dumbbells at the height of your ears with your elbows bent. Make sure that you maintain a straight core.
After that, take a deep breath and lift the weights above your head. Make sure that you’re not slouching or leaning forward. Also, don’t hold this position for too long. After a second or two, repeat the process to as many reps that you can.
Just don’t settle with this routine for building muscle after 50. Alternate with other exercises so you can also target other muscle groups.
Aside from strength training, a little cardio is also important to keep your heart health in check. You can take a 30-minute run along the neighborhood or in the treadmill. This is enough to break a sweat while burning around 300 calories.
Running is also a great way to stay active on your rest days from the 5 day workout routine to build muscle. You’re free to choose your pace. Just don’t overdo it or your knees will suffer too much.
If you find running a bit tedious, you can try biking. You can burn almost the same calories as running while reducing the impact to your knees. In fact, this is the best, low-impact exercise for elders.
Studies found that cycling utilizes a circular motion on the knees which prevents arthritis and damages on the cartilage. Biking is also great in boosting your stamina and core muscles.
This routine will also keep your resting pulse at a low level which also lets you achieve a steady heart rate. Biking is a multi-faceted exercise that can bring in tons of benefits.
Do you want to stay refreshed while packing up with muscles? Swimming is a good choice. As someone that’s close to reaching the senior age, swimming will keep your heart health in good condition while improving your flexibility.
In fact, swimming is the preferred routine of many older adults since it has very little impact and the risk of injury is very low. The water will cushion your body while the force you exert while swimming will help tone your muscles.
Swimming is very gentle on the joints and it also improves older people’s bone mineral density. In fact, swimming can reduce your risk of osteoporosis while helping you build muscles at the same time.
Aside from swimming alone, you can also try water exercises that target to burn fats and build lean muscles.
You can do the real thing or hit the gym’s rowing machine. Indoor rowing isn’t just the thing of the youngsters, it also has tons of benefits for people building muscle after 50.
This exercise stretches almost all your muscle groups which are ideal if you’re at your 50s. Moreover, it’s a low-impact choice which is friendly to your knees and elbows. And since it has lumbar support, even those with mobility issues can enjoy the benefits.
Also, rowing is excellent in improving muscle strength, cognitive performance, and functional status. As a tool for endurance training, a rowing machine is an indispensable mode of exercise.
Mistakes to avoid
Even at 50, you have many options when it comes to working out. Although you will take more caution, old age isn’t an excuse to not stay in shape. Still, avoid these mistakes that will sabotage your progress.
1. Ignoring an injury
If it hurts, have it checked. Never ignore any signs of injury while you’re working out. Let a physician look into the problem and have it diagnosed. Even if it’s just pain from a weak back or tired muscles, it pays to have it checked right away.
Injuries can be prevented if you have a trainer that guides you on your routines.
2. Pushing too hard
At this age, caution should always be your constant companion. Don’t push yourself too hard if you know that your body isn’t prepared for it. If it aches too much, ask the opinion of your trainer before proceeding to your routines.
Still, don’t be too complacent. Always aim to increase the intensity of your drills slowly.
3. Doing it on your own
Even professional bodybuilders will ask the help of an expert when they are working out. The same goes for you. Always have someone backing you up and checking your posture while you’re doing your lifts, presses, and stretches.
Exercising on your own will only increase the risk of injury, especially if you’re not knowledgeable about your physique.
4. Not eating a healthy diet
It’s not enough that you exercise. You should also eat a healthy diet that complements the needs of your routines. Eat more protein, but keep it in an amount that won’t hurt your kidney and liver. Also, pack up on leafy greens and fruits. These contain the minerals and vitamins that will sustain your growing needs as someone in their 50s.
Also, don’t forget to eat calcium-rich food that will keep your bones in good shape.
5. Avoiding supplements
Never shy away from supplements like whey protein isolates. These products will help augment the nutrients that you’re lacking. Also, whey is rich in protein that will help your muscles recover on your 5 day workout routine to build muscle.
Our Suggested Whey Protein for Muscle Building at 50
Product Name: NutraBio 100% Whey Protein Isolate
Product Description: For older adults looking for whey protein to pair up with their muscle-building routines, the NutraBio Whey Isolate is the healthy choice. It has a clean formula that comes with 25 grams of protein for each serving. Aside from that, NutraBio also contains 5.3 grams of BCAAs that fights muscle fatigue. There’s also 138 mg of calcium in each scoop that will keep your bones strong while you exercise. Overall, this is an excellent formula for people in their 50s who want to build muscles.
For each scoop, you will only get 110 calories without any fillers, GMO, or soy. It’s also Kosher-certified, not to mention its weight loss-friendly formula. Even if you’re lactose intolerant or having problems with digestion, NutraBio will work for you.
The big bonus here is the flavor. NutraBio comes in Dutch Chocolate, Alpine Vanilla, Wild Strawberry, Cookies & Cream, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and an unflavored version.
-Calcium content that aids bone health
-Gluten, soy, and GMO-free
-No fillers or artificial substances
-Tends to be too bubbly when blended
Building muscle after 50 isn’t impossible. With the right routines paired with a healthy diet, you can defeat fats and gain muscles.