Here’s a “fun” party fact: According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), people by age 50 lose 10% of their muscle mass. Not only does this affect your posture and strength (although these are affected too) – it can have surprising effects on your weight, too.
Why? Blame it on your metabolism. Muscles are more metabolically active than fat – which means they burn more energy to begin with. With fewer muscles, your metabolism slows down, which can contribute to unwanted weight gain. (Other factors related to aging, such as hormone shifts and decreased activity, can also affect your weight.)
So if you are over 50 and want to lose weight, there is one type of exercise that has the upper hand. “If you’re trying to get fit and stay lean, Weightlifting is the best choice!“Pam Sherman, a 54-year-old trainer and health coach, previously told ETNT Mind + Body. That’s why she says everyone over 50 should do weight training at least three to four days a week. Indeed, a 2017 study in the journal Obesity found that people over 60 who tried to lose weight through cutting calories and weight training lost more fat and less muscle than people who cut calories and did cardio.
“A higher muscle to fat ratio means you burn more energy – just sitting down. To build these muscles, you have to exercise, and that burns calories too, ”William Yancy Jr., MD, shared with AARP.
Are you looking for tips to improve your weight training game to get leaner in no time? Here are some of the best suggestions from top coaches, research, and more. And for more fitness secrets, check out: Sneaky Ways to Get Yourself to Like Exercise, Experts Say.
There are tons of great strength training exercises out there. But if you’re looking for a move that is suitable for beginners, don’t sleep in squats. The humble step may seem easy, but it’s a muscle building and fat loss powerhouse. Several small studies have shown that just eight weeks of squatting with your own body weight can help reduce body weight by up to 7% (in men) while building muscle mass at the same time. Plus, squats also help build core strength and improve bone and brain health. If a regular squat is too easy for you, try small weights to really feel the burn. If you want to learn more about squats, don’t skip: the one exercise that is best for fighting Alzheimer’s, the doctor says.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone should do both regardless of their age. After all, aerobic exercise is great for heart health and calorie burning. “The ideal form of training to achieve a lean body is a combination of strength training with high-intensity cardiovascular training,” David Sautter, a NASM-certified personal trainer with Top Fitness Magazine, previously told ETNT Mind + Body. Would you like any hints? Check out: Over 60? Here are some of the best cardio exercises for you, says Trainer.
To really maximize your fat loss, dedicate the first part of your workout to weight training, followed by cardio. “This will help you slim down quickly,” certified personal trainer Josh Schlottman, CPT, CSCS, previously told ETNT Mind + Body. That way, you can fuel your weightlifting with the glycogen (also known as energy) stored in your body and then use vigorous cardio to burn stored fat for energy. “Add at least 10 minutes, but preferably up to 30 to 40 minutes, of cardio after lifting weights to maximize your fat burning,” recommended Schlottman. Read more: New study reveals why this popular exercise is so good at breaking fat.
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As you plan your workouts, make sure you fill them with full body movements that work multiple muscle groups at once (rather than one or two at the same time) to get the most bang for your buck. “In this way you train several muscle groups with every movement – and make your workouts more efficient and calorie-burning,” wrote top trainer Tim Liu, CSCS, previously for ETNT Mind + Body. Translation: You’ll see results in less time. Check Out: Build Muscle And Get Lean With This 4-Movement Workout To Do At Home.