Does Men’s Exercise Change After Forty?
Let’s answer the question, does men’s exercise change after forty? Men after the age of forty may feel a significant decline in their exercise performance and health. It’s like the old country song states, “I ain’t as good as I once was.” This is true. Men do lose more when it comes to metabolism, growth hormone, testosterone levels, and muscle strength/size after age 40. These declines provide a greater risk for obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Thankfully, there is an anecdote for the detrimental effects on health, exercise, specifically strength training.
Men after the age of forty may feel a significant decline in their exercise performance and health. It’s like the old country song states, “I ain’t as good as I once was.” This is true. Men do lose more when it comes to metabolism, growth hormone, testosterone levels, and muscle strength/size after age 40. These declines provide a greater risk for obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Thankfully, there is an anecdote for the detrimental effects on health, exercise, specifically strength training.
Changes in Metabolism
Men will significantly drop their resting metabolism between the ages of 40 to 50. The resting metabolic rate is what calories your body burns for necessary life function, such as breathing, heart pumping, digesting food, and muscle metabolism. The resting metabolic rate is responsible for burning 70% of all our calories. The rate drops 5% during the 4th decade. This is a vast drop compared to 20 to 30-year-olds, where there is only a 1-2% drop. The drop in metabolism can cause, on average, 20 pounds in weight gain.
Strength training is critical for counteracting the drop in metabolism. Aerobic exercises are helpful, but it appears resistance training is more crucial to stop the dramatic decline in metabolism. It seems the key reason for the decline in men’s metabolism is the reduction in muscle mass and size. Many researchers believe this is due to a reduction in muscle size along with a decrease in growth hormone and testosterone. The drop of testosterone can lead to increased obesity. Men who are overweight have 30% less testosterone, seen in research. Strength training increases testosterone and growth hormone, especially when focusing on major muscle groups.
The strength training regimen that is the most beneficial for increasing hypertrophy of muscle size (increasing size) is performing short rest intervals and using moderately/heavyweight. The high-intensity strength training with reduced rest creates lactic acid or burns at the muscles. Lactic acid is created when the body has a decreased ability to provide oxygen to the muscle cells, causing the body to form lactic acid. The increased burn at the muscle creates a chemical signal to the body to create growth hormones in the body.
Growth hormone allows for greater muscle size. First, the hormone allows for the regeneration of skeletal cells to occur more efficiently, causing a greater diameter to the muscle fiber. Next, the circulation of growth hormone stimulates satellite cells to turn into muscle cells. Ultimately, increased muscle size allows for a higher resting metabolic rate.
What should your training program look like?
The specific strength training parameter for muscle hypertrophy is between 67 to 80% of 1 rep max, 30-90 sec rest between sets, 4-6 sets. One rep max is the maximal amount of weight a person can lift in a specific exercise. A person can lift with good form 8-12 reps at the 67%-80% percentage of 1 rep max. The component is the shorter rest interval between sets. Thirty to ninety seconds rest intervals do not allow enough time for the body to get enough oxygen into the muscle; this causes the anaerobic lactic acid byproduct. The increased number of sets to 4-6 sets causes more lactic acid to accumulate in the muscle.
Men over forty should learn to put strength training into their exercise regimen that focuses on muscle hypertrophy. The increased muscle size increases resting metabolism, testosterone and contradicts obesity which leads to terrible co-morbidities. Strength training can counteract the daunting declines that men have to face as they age.
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