Anaerobic exercise makes its greatest contribution to building and maintaining muscle mass. It is achieved through low impact exercise, and weight training.



Scarcopenia, or age-related loss of muscle mass, begins as early as age 20 or 25, and accelerates noticeably after age 60.

In physically inactive persons there is a loss of about -0.5% (minus one half of one percent) of muscle mass every year between age 25 and 60, and a parallel decline in muscle strength.

From age 60 on, the rate of loss doubles, to about 1%; and it doubles again at age 70; and again at age 80, then again at age 90... until it kills us, usually before age 100.

Although sarcopenia is mostly seen in physically inactive individuals, it is also evident in physically active individuals. This suggests that physical inactivity is not the only contributing factor, and that improper nutrition, a decline in hormones, anaemia, and perhaps other factors are also causes.


Low Impact Exercise

Low impact exercise is provides lower levels of aerobic benefits, but concentrates on providing both an effective toning of muscle, without building muscle mass, and can also be used in such ways to signal the muscle into muscle fibre building action.

They are also useful for maintaining bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and its complications

Such exercises include:

  • Walking – adding a few hills steps up the aerobic side
  • Cycling – especially good are the new elliptical cycles which exercise both arms and legs
  • Step and Toning Routines
  • Muscle contractions held for 30 seconds
  • More advanced yoga routines
  • Low-impact aerobic exercises — such as swimming, cycling and pool exercises helps you keep you fit without putting excessive stress on your joints, making these exercises good choices if you have conditions such as arthritis.

Free Weight Training [FWT]

Free weight training uses simple hand weights. One should always start with FWT before progressing to RT. Learning the correct technique is important, not only to avoid injury, but also to maximise results. For instance, a slight outwards twist movement in a bicep curl, moves the action to concentrate on the belly of the muscle, rather than the total muscle length. Professional instruction is highly advisable, or at least consult a free weight training book or video.


Resistance Weight Training [RT]

Once a reasonable level of activity and muscle fitness has been obtained using FWT, resistance training [RT] can be introduced. Resistance training uses gym machines that incorporate weights, pulleys and cables, to provide a controlled resistance as well as weight to the movement.

RT has been reported to positively influence the neuromuscular system, hormone concentrations, and protein synthesis rates, all contributing to maintaining muscle mass. A 2-week supervised RT program muscle protein synthesis rates increased up to 182% from baseline in seven 78 to 84 year olds.

RT Training Program

RT programs must be designed by qualified fitness training professionals, who take into account factors such as: age, weight, general fitness, muscle strength, and any medical conditions such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, pulmonary disease, chronic renal failure, peripheral vascular disease and arthritis.

Number of Exercises - A program with 8 to 10 exercises, one for each major muscle group: pectorals, latissimus dorsi, deltoids, abdominals, gluteals, quadriceps and hamstrings. Multi-joint exercises are recommended, as opposed to single-joint movements.

Intensity - perform 10 to 15 repetitions per exercise. As strength increases, increase in repetitions, followed later by an increase in resistance.

Progression - Systematic changing workout cycles to include higher intensity sessions with moderate intensity sessions is advisable.

Sets – start with 1 set per major muscle group, building up to 2 - 3 sets Multiple set programs result in greater strength gains over time.

Frequency - RT should be preformed up to 2x per week, separating workout sessions with at least a period of 48 hours.


Safety Considerations

Begin a RT program with about 8 weeks of minimal resistance loads to allow adequate time for the joint connective tissues to adjust to RT

Learn the correct technique for each exercise

Maintain normal breathing throughout

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Exercise Index | Benefits | Body Type | Guidelines | Personality | Aerobic | Anaerobic | Compound | Fat Burning | Body Shaping | The Core | Weight Training | Stretching | Troubleshooting | Cooldown


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