It’s no secret that as you get older, your ability to do physical things starts to dramatically decrease. It’s a natural part of life and one that we are all unfortunately going to have to face at some point.
Your organs age, making them less effective in regulating your blood and oxygen levels which causes you to get tired more easily. Your bones and joints have a lifetime of wear and tear behind them which causes pain and stiffness.
Because you will see decreased levels of growth hormones and testosterone, your muscles will stop growing as quickly as they once did and you’ll be finding it more difficult to retain a lot of muscle mass.
For the most part this is unavoidable, but it doesn’t have to mean that you can no longer take on any kind of strenuous activity, and contrary to popular belief, older people can still participate in bodybuilding.
It’s just a little bit more dangerous and their approach needs to be altered to ensure that they don’t do themselves any damage while also still managing to get some benefit from the exercise.
Here’s five important things for seniors to remember if they want to try some bodybuilding:
- Keep Your Doctor in the Loop
The first thing that I would suggest you do is discuss the possibility of bodybuilding with your doctor. You are going to want to make sure that you are not a higher risk than other people might be.
It’s also wise to get thoroughly checked over so that you can be familiar with which parts of your body are more in danger. Everyone’s body is different and you could have a particular proclivity towards certain injuries that others wouldn’t have.
It’s better to know in advance about these risks than figure it out when you injure yourself doing what you think is a basic, safe exercise. I would run through what your personal workout plan is with your doctor and if they advise you to add anything or remove anything, take that advice.
There’s no sense in putting yourself in danger and when you’re older it’s better to get medical clearance for things like this before throwing yourself in the deep end.
- Eat the Right Food
You need plenty of nutrition when you’re working out anyway, but as a senior it’s absolutely essential and without it you are putting yourself at massive risk of injury. Seniors need a lot of protein to ensure their muscles and organs stay in shape when bodybuilding.
You need to have about a ½ gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight. You can get this from chicken, egg whites, fish and various other sources so maybe try and incorporate some protein into two of your meals every single day.
Some carbohydrates are also important. So think potatoes, brown rice, pasta and if you are going to try and get some crabs from bread I would suggest that you only go for whole wheat bread as others come with some unwanted elements.
- Consider Supplements
When you’re younger it’s so much easier to just get all of your nutrition from food. But your metabolism slows as you age and your appetite also tends to be affected by getting older too so you won’t want to eat as much.
Now after a while of bodybuilding that might change, but it’s still worth maybe thinking about getting some supplements. You should of course talk to your doctor about this too, but if you get the go ahead there are a number of different helpful supplements.
You can get protein from something like whey, you could get a Vitamin D or a B12 supplement, omega-3 fatty acids are also important. And also consider the possibility that you might qualify
for some steroid treatment.
For the most part, it’s against the law for steroids to be sold to bodybuilders but it’s not always the case. Anabolic steroids are sometimes offered to people with an inhibited capacity to exercise due to illness, injury or disability.
Have a chat with your doctor about this and you might be able to get on some kind of steroid program to aid you in your bodybuilding. Even if you aren’t though, the supplements are offered to everyone and you will more than likely have no trouble getting those prescribed.
- Focus on Joints
If there’s one thing that you can be sure of as you get older it’s that your joints are going to start betraying you. You might be pretty lucky and get away with minimal stiffness or pain in your knees, shoulders and hips, but that’s not the case for most of us.
These joints are important for stabilizing purposes when you’re doing things like squats and bench pressing and most bodybuilding exercises, so if they’re giving you trouble then your progress will be inhibited.
So in addition to whatever exercises you’ve decided to work on, put some focus on stretching and strengthening your joints. There are a lot of supplemental exercises you can try depending on what joints need attention. Planks, lunges, thrusters and foam rolling are all helpful.
- Don’t Work Out Alone
Even if you do all of this important stuff and take all of the necessary precautions, you’re still at risk when you’re older, and that risk is probably doubled if you’re working out without anyone to keep an eye on you.
If you fall, if something goes wrong, if you get stuck in some position, the likelihood of that turning into a more serious problem is so much higher when you’re alone. You should try and find yourself a workout partner.
Another senior would be good as long as you take turns supervising each other’s exercises but if you can get someone younger that would be great. A child, a grandchild, a nephew or maybe even a personal trainer.
You could also join some kind of group that offers bodybuilding for seniors. This way it would be monitored and you could get advice to maximise safety and progression while you’re working out.
Exercise doesn’t stop being important when you get older, in fact it’s arguably more important when your body isn’t as young and agile as it once was. And if bodybuilding is how you want to exercise, then there’s nothing to suggest that you can’t do that as long as you make sure that you’re safe.