A Workout For People Who Age Gracefully

Older woman in yoga class.
Older woman in yoga class.

Seniors Need Special Care

There are several reasons seniors should be handled differently than younger people. Especially seniors that have not been exercising regularly. These reasons may be different from what you think, though. Seniors’ bodies are the same as younger people’s but often have lost muscle/bone mass. This is called Sarcopenia and is considered a natural process.  But is it?

It is now thought that the “natural” muscle loss is due to age. But recent studies have found several reasons why nearly all seniors lose muscle and bone. 

  1. They exercise less.
  2. They don’t eat enough protein.
  3. The loss may NOT be natural but caused by bouts of inactivity caused by injuries.
  4. These injuries, which seem natural to seniors, are because of muscle loss.
  5. This brings us back to number 1.

The Vicious Cycle

It is really and truly a vicious cycle. Seniors need to do exercise. They need to do a REAL EXERCISE. Actual Exercise brings about the upwards adaption of strength and the building of muscle. When you have strength, you acquire fewer injuries. 

Let us look at number 1. This is solved by exercise. But what is the form of exercise that genuinely brings back strength?  It is High-Intensity Training or HIT. Walking, mild Yoga, weight training like in the old days, made of three sets of ten, biking, and even swimming are all old-fashioned. At best, maintain levels of muscle/strength. But, if you were to track actual muscle over time, most would find a loss of muscle. YOUR WEIGHT MAY BE THE SAME AS 10 YEARS AGO. BUT I WOULD BE HAPPY TO BET THAT MOST SENIORS ARE MORE FAT AND HAVE LESS MUSCLE. 

How Do you Know If Your Exercise is Working?

Older man working out outdoords.

How do you know if you are losing muscle and gaining fat? This can be insidious because you may still “look good,” but it may be an illusion. The only way to know for sure is to have a Dexa Scan or a Bod Pod analysis. This is called a “body composition analysis.  LeoFit Labs has the Cosmed Bodpod on the premises.  Then have another a year later. Sure, this takes time, but if you are not doing short but intense exercises, you ARE losing muscle and strength.

This is why we have so many active seniors still losing muscle. They are doing mild exercise, walking, swimming, yoga, biking, “classes,” etc. These often are NOT causing stress on the muscle. Bodies adapt to the same exercise daily very quickly, and little benefit comes after the first few weeks. 

Number 2. 

First, this fact is not well known; seniors do not utilize protein as efficiently as younger people. So seniors need much more than they often realize. And they need way more than the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance.) The RDA that so many doctors recommend is a bare minimum number. You can look this up for yourself if you like. 

The National Institute of Health recommends this calculator for assessing RDAs.  It is a joke. It recommends 81 grams of protein daily for a 65-year-old (222 pounds) like myself. I have tested this, and I cannot maintain my muscle on less than 150 grams a day. And to gain muscle, I may need 220—one gram per pound of body weight.  

Sarcopenia (Muscle Loss) and Injuries

Jogging Is Not The Key

Older woman running in a park.

Now let us look at numbers three and four.

Sarcopenia sets in because of inactivity, insufficient protein, and loss of strength. A loss of strength allows injuries, which causes MORE sarcopenia. 

With less strength, you slip. Without power, you fall. Without strength, you cannot “catch” yourself. Without strength, you become injured. Minor injuries and significant one accrues. It is said that breaking a hip at 65 or older is akin to a death sentence. Any bone break or hospital stay may be a death sentence. 

How about just getting stronger? It is NEVER too late to get stronger.

How do you win?

You must do High-Intensity Training. 20-25 minutes twice a week is all you need. This can replace 3-10 hours at the gym doing old-fashioned, low-intensity, long-duration exercise. Most people have been doing low-intensity, long-duration for the last 50 years. And Americans are fatter than ever. Aerobics does not work. If you can do something for more than 30 minutes, it likely is NOT causing the upwards adaption of stronger muscles. 

Seniors need to have a baseline of their strength and then need to know if they are getting stronger.

ARX To The Resue

Our ARX machines graph and save every second of every workout. You can see on the computer screen if you are getting stronger. We see strength gains week in and week out. It is so ordinary that it isn’t even surprising. It may sound untrue, but 20-25 minutes of ARX machine workouts replace 3-6 hours in the gym WITH BETTER RESULTS.

A Perfect Example of Wasting One’s Time and Even Causing Harm!

A pretty good acquaintance does something called Orange Theory Workouts. she gets up at 5 am to make her class before work. I believe she does 3-5 sessions a week. I saw her recently after a year. And YES, she has lost pounds. But I could tell it was as much muscle loss as fat loss. How can I tell? A year ago, she was a barrel-shaped woman of 175 pounds. Now she is a barrel-shaped woman of 125 pounds. YES, she is “lighter,” and YES, she weighs less, but how much muscle did she give up to be a smaller barrel? Barrels don’t look good in well-fitting clothes, regardless of the size of the barrel.

This is often called “skinny fat.” One weighs less and may even be “skinny,” but they have very little muscle. Muscle is healthy! 

This cannot be overstressed; MUSCLE IS HEALTH, assuming you didn’t gain it by taking drugs. 

At LeoFitLabs, we build strong muscles in as little as 20 minutes twice a week, and you will not be injured because our computer-controlled machines know how strong you are. Second by second. 

Could you give us a call?