Aging & Exercise: How the Body Builds Strength When You Grow Older

Regular exercise becomes even more important as you grow older. Yet many people replace strength training & working out in the gym with other kinds of exercise. A lot of us question whether there is actually a point of working out beyond a certain age.

Recently, the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research did a study that compared the results of younger & older people that completed the same exercise program after a number of weeks. This study as well as a little more information on aging & exercise is discussed in greater detail below.

How the Study Was Set Up

 

This particular study lasted for ten weeks. Twenty-six seniors participated with an average age of about 65 years old. Twenty-three younger people participated with an average age of about 29 years old.

The workout plans they were instructed to do were fairly simple. They consisted of two to four sets of eight to fourteen reps. Various exercises were used. The amount of resistance varied throughout the course of the ten weeks. Exercises that were used included leg press, bench press, & a variety of isolation exercises.

Fitness levels of each participant were tested before the study to compare with the fitness levels after the ten week study.

Results from the Study

 

The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research study on aging & exercise was interesting. We’ve broken down the results of the study below:

Strength: The workout program increased the strength in both younger & older participants. Most exercises resulted in roughly equal gain between the two groups.

Muscle Mass: Leg mass increased in both groups. However, only the younger men had a significant increase in muscle mass in their legs. The older group only had growth in leg mass with muscle mass remaining nearly the same.

Muscle Activation: While flexing hard against resistance, the older group of men achieved a greater increase in EMG activity than younger men. Basically, the older men received more muscle activation during most exercises than the younger men.

Simply put, the study shows that working out into your sixties (& possibly beyond) has its benefits. There is no reason to stop strength training at this mark. You still have the potential to improve your strength.

A few great blog posts on our website to check out on our website related to strength training include:

 

Final Thoughts

What is stopping you from exercising when you get older? If you’re above the age of sixty, we’d love to hear from you about your current fitness routine!