Wow! The world has just turned upside down! Almost no-one who will be reading this will ever have experienced anything remotely like this. Our website promotes health in later life through strength and fitness. The people we have met and interviewed over the years are already living a life that goes against conventional wisdom about being older - so they are thinking outside the box in the first place. We know therefore that all SGSC athletes will take on this challenge as imaginatively as they approach life in general.
We ourselves are sticking to a daily routine which involves running outside and doing strength work in the house. We are also making sure we do plenty of stretching to keep ourselves as supple as possible. It seems to us that regularity is the key.
We realise more than ever how lucky we usually are to have so much freedom to live, train and do the sports that we love. In the future when all this is over, on days when we don’t want to push ourselves so hard we will be aware of how fortunate we are to have that choice.
Maybe the lock-down will even bring new people to experience the benefits of exercise and hopefully they will continue the habit once this crisis is passed.
Stay strong, stay healthy. Life’s a Game - Keep Playing!
Some new research, led by Kristen Beavers, an assistant professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest University, sheds some light on two important and interlinked issues that concern Silver Grey athletes - keeping a healthily low body weight while maintaining adequate muscle mass for both your sports and for your health and quality of life.
This new study suggests the way to go is to combine weight training with a calorie-controlled diet and in this way to preserve lean muscle mass which can be lost through aerobic workouts.
In this 18-month study of 249 adults in their 60s who were overweight or obese, participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: a weight-loss-only group, who followed a calorie-restricted diet with no exercise regimen; a weight loss with cardio (i.e., walking) group; and a weight loss with weight-training group. Restricting calories combined with resistance training in the form of weight-machine workouts resulted in less muscle loss, but significant fat loss, when compared to weight loss in combination with walking or weight loss alone.
Losing weight is generally recommended for those with obesity, but preserving muscle – while losing fat – is particularly important for older adults in order to maximize functional benefit, Beavers said. “Surprisingly, we found that cardio workouts may actually cause older adults with obesity to lose more muscle mass than dieting alone.”
As seen in previous articles, loss of lean muscle mass could have important negative consequences such as loss of function in daily life, increased likelihood of injury and most importantly to Silver Grey athletes loss of sporting capabilities.
The findings of the research were as follows:-
- Total fat loss was much greater when participants combined diet with walking - about 16 pounds - and diet with weight training (about 17 pounds). Diet alone resulted in about 10 pounds of fat lost over 18 months.
- Muscle mass loss was greatest with diet plus walking - about 4 pounds - compared with diet alone or diet plus weight training - each about 2 pounds. Put another way, the percentage of weight loss coming from muscle mass was 20% in the weight loss plus walking group, 16% in the weight loss alone group, but only 10% in the weight loss plus weight training group.
At SGSC we absolutely believe in the potential of adults of all ages to build muscle, but given that we do accept that it is harder work the older you get it's self-evident that if you are trying to get your body weight down to a healthier figure it makes sense to preserve what muscle you have even if it is as a precursor to building more.
You can read more about the research here