The best type of exercise for ageing muscles

Published: June 24, 2017
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PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

Blunt truth: ageing affects your muscles. After you turn 30, you start to slowly lose your bigger fast-twitch muscle fibers that make you lean, defined and athletic. And your muscles even age at a cellular level with a decline in the number and quality of your mitochondria, the powerhouse of your cells.

But a recent study discovered that certain forms of exercise may increase muscle mass and mitochondrial density, particularly with people 64 and over, reported Men’s Health.

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Studies have shown that when it comes to muscle growth, the best results are achieved by using a mix of low, medium, and high reps. And the same things that build muscle also help slow the loss of it.

But don’t get caught in the trap of thinking you can only hit your fast-twitch fibers with heavy strength training and your slow-twitch fibers with cardio. The degree to which you target certain muscle fibers depends on the speed and intensity of the exercise in addition to the rest time between work sets.

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Heavy lifting can be tough on the body as you get older. Your central nervous system takes more time to recover between sessions from heavier loading and your joints can only take so much wear and tear. Plus, heavy lifting doesn’t adequately stimulate your mitochondria, which will decline with age and are critical for overall health and performance.

Do two-minute time-under-tension sets with resistance training exercises such as squats, pushups, or biceps curls using a slow and controlled tempo and with rest periods of 60 seconds or less is one of the best ways to boost muscle and mitochondria. Plus, it will get and keep your heart rate up.

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The bottom line is that the best exercise for aging muscles is either a combination of strength and interval training, or a fusion of the two with metabolic bodybuilding. Either way, you’ll be drinking from the fountain of youth and still getting gains in your golden years.

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