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Senior Fitness Programs: Boosting Stamina and Muscle Strength after 50

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

by Emma Mattison – NASM, CPT, CNC, and Functional Aging Specialist

Senior woman feeling frustrated during her workout due to lack of stamina, illustrating the need for personalized senior fitness programs to improve muscle strength and stamina in older adults.

Have you ever noticed that as you get older, you don't have the same stamina or strength for exercise as you did when you were younger? You're not alone. Navigating the world of fitness after reaching the age of 50 can be a daunting task. That's why I, Emma Mattison, enjoy guiding older adults through these uncertainties of aging. As a personal trainer and functional aging specialist for mature adults, I notice a common concern is a noticeable decrease in stamina and muscle strength, often attributable to a condition known as sarcopenia. This natural aspect of aging involves the progressive loss of muscle mass and function (Cruz-Jentoft et al., 2019).

Factors That Make Stamina Worse

  • Hormonal changes

  • Reduced physical activity

  • Inadequate protein

Sedentary older man eating chips, showcasing poor dietary choices that contribute to sarcopenia and reduced stamina, underscoring the need for healthier nutrition and exercise in senior fitness programs.

Factors such as hormonal changes, reduced physical activity, and inadequate protein and calorie intake often contribute to sarcopenia. The condition is marked by reduced muscle protein synthesis, the body's muscle-building process, leading to decreased muscle mass (Landi et al., 2013). This can result in lower stamina, making everyday activities strenuous and increasing the risk of falls and fractures (Cruz-Jentoft et al., 2019).

What You Can Do About It

Though sarcopenia is a natural part of aging, it doesn't have to be accepted without a fight. This is where senior fitness programs come into play. These programs typically incorporate resistance and aerobic training, significantly improving older adults' muscle strength and overall physical health (Liu & Latham, 2009; Peterson et al., 2011).


Strong older woman engaging in resistance training as part of a senior fitness program to combat sarcopenia and improve muscle strength in older adults.

To be more specific, resistance training involves exercises that make the muscles work against a weight or force, thereby enhancing muscle protein synthesis, boosting muscle mass, and improving neuromuscular function (Peterson et al., 2011). Conversely, aerobic exercises like walking or swimming enhance cardiovascular fitness and overall health (Chodzko-Zajko et al., 2009).

How Do I Train?

Senior fitness programs recommend that older adults aim for at least two days of resistance training exercises every week. Each session should consist of 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions at an intensity of about 60-80% of the individual's one-repetition maximum (1-RM) (Chodzko-Zajko et al., 2009; Fragala et al., 2019). Additionally, they should strive for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week (Chodzko-Zajko et al., 2009).


Alongside exercise, nutrition also plays a crucial role in combating sarcopenia. Senior fitness programs emphasize the importance of adequate protein intake, which should be at least 1.0–1.2g/kg of body weight/day, to support muscle protein synthesis (Deutz et al., 2014).


50-year-old woman enjoying a meal rich in healthy proteins and nutrients, exemplifying good dietary choices for combating sarcopenia and enhancing longevity as part of a senior fitness program.

Don't Waste Away. Start Today!


Remember, it's never too late to start. Even if you feel like you don't have the stamina you once did, a gradual and appropriately paced exercise program can help you regain your strength and fitness. While starting a new fitness routine can be intimidating, especially if you've been feeling low on stamina, with gradual and appropriately paced exercises, senior fitness programs can help older adults safely increase their strength and fitness. Always consult your doctor or a physical therapist before beginning a new exercise regimen. By staying active and eating a balanced diet, you can fight the effects of sarcopenia, enhance your physical function, and lead an active and healthy life!


Book Your Free 15-Minute Phone Consultation with Emma Mattison!


If you're ready to take your fitness to the next level, schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation with me, Emma Mattison. During this consultation, we can discuss your fitness goals, assess your current fitness level, and create a personalized plan to help you improve your aerobic base.

Image of Emma Mattison, a highly qualified online personal trainer, functional aging specialist, certified trainer and nutrition coach through NASM and FAI, and a skilled Tai Chi and Dance instructor.

But that's not all! As a special offer, I'm providing a free functional fitness course to jumpstart your journey. This course will introduce you to various exercises and training techniques to enhance your overall functional fitness and complement your aerobic base training.


Invest in yourself today and experience the transformative power of improving your aerobic base. Take the first step by scheduling your free consultation and claiming your free functional fitness course. Let's work together to achieve your fitness goals and unlock your full potential!

Older adult man performing an at-home workout to boost his stamina, reduce the effects of sarcopenia, and improve overall wellness, embodying the benefits of senior fitness programs for health and longevity

Please note: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and does not substitute professional medical advice. Consult with your healthcare provider or a certified fitness professional before starting any new exercise program.


Schedule your FREE 15-Minute Phone Consultation and claim your FREE Functional Fitness Course with Emma Mattison! Click here to book now!



You can also email me at info@myzeniverse.com


 

About the Author

Image of Emma Mattison, a highly qualified online personal trainer, functional aging specialist, certified trainer and nutrition coach through NASM and FAI, and a skilled Tai Chi and Dance instructor.

Hi! I'm Emma Mattison. I'm a NASM certified personal trainer, nutrition coach, stretch & flexibility coach, pranayama breathwork guide, holistic nerd, and lover of birds & music! I specialize in functional fitness for older adults, and those with conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Scientific literature is fun to me, and my goal is to make it understandable and fun for you!


I am driven to share knowledge I find fascinating & transformative with my clients, and the world. Everyone has the power to take their health into their own hands!


My love for fitness and true discovery of health started with helping my best friend – who I can now call my husband! Today, I couldn't do any of this as smoothly and enjoyably as I do now without him! Check out our YouTube, MyZeniverse! He literally edits and films everything. He's editing the next YouTube video next to me right now, as we speak! Check it out, and give it a like if it's helpful! 😊😊

References

Bouvard, V., Loomis, D., Guyton, K. Z., Grosse, Y., Ghissassi, F. E., Benbrahim-Tallaa, L., ... & International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph Working Group. (2015). Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat. The Lancet Oncology, 16(16), 1599-1600. DOI:10.1016/S1470-2045(15)00444-1


Chodzko-Zajko, W. J., Proctor, D. N., Fiatarone Singh, M. A., Minson, C. T., Nigg, C. R., Salem, G. J., & Skinner, J. S. (2009). American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exercise and physical activity for older adults. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 41(7), 1510-1530. DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181a0c95c


Cruz-Jentoft, A. J., Bahat, G., Bauer, J., Boirie, Y., Bruyère, O., Cederholm, T., ... & Landi, F. (2019). Sarcopenia: revised European consensus on definition and diagnosis. Age and ageing, 48(1), 16-31. DOI: 10.1093/ageing/afy169


Deutz, N. E., Bauer, J. M., Barazzoni, R., Biolo, G., Boirie, Y., Bosy-Westphal, A., ... & Calder, P. C. (2014). Protein intake and exercise for optimal muscle function with aging: recommendations from the ESPEN Expert Group. Clinical Nutrition, 33(6), 929-936. DOI: 10.1016/j.clnu.2014.04.007


Fragala, M. S., Cadore, E. L., Dorgo, S., Izquierdo, M., Kraemer, W. J., Peterson, M. D., & Ryan, E. D. (2019). Resistance Training for Older Adults: Position Statement From the National Strength and Conditioning Association. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 33(8), 2019-2052. DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003230


Landi, F., Liperoti, R., Russo, A., Giovannini, S., Tosato, M., Capoluongo, E., ... & Onder, G. (2013). Sarcopenia as a risk factor for falls in elderly individuals: results from the ilSIRENTE study. Clinical nutrition, 32(5), 729-734. DOI: 10.1016/j.clnu.2012.11.021


Liu, C. J., & Latham, N. K. (2009). Progressive resistance strength training for improving physical function in older adults. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (3), CD002759. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002759.pub2


Peterson, M. D., Rhea, M. R., & Sen, A. (2011). Resistance exercise for muscular strength in older adults: a meta-analysis. Ageing Research Reviews, 10(3), 226-237. DOI: 10.1016/j.arr.2010.03.004

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