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Muscle Strength with Aging

A study from the University of Maryland shows that older men and women can enlarge and strengthen muscles in the same way that younger people do.

The stimulus to make muscles stronger is to exercise them against increasing resistance. When you push against great resistance, you feel a burning that is a sign of muscle damage. When the muscle heals from that damage, it is stronger than before. You feel sore on the next day and should not exercise that muscle against heavy resistance until the soreness goes away.

Most young people can lift very heavy weights and continue to lift through the soreness, but older people should stop lifting as soon as they feel the soreness during a workout. Younger people recover faster so they can lift heavy weights every second or third days, but older people take longer for the soreness to go away, so they may be able to lift heavy only once every week or two.

Muscle size responses to strength training in young and older men and women. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2001, Vol 49, Iss 11, pp 1428-1433. SM Roth, FM Ivey, GF Martel, JT Lemmer, DE Hurlbut, EL Siegel, EJ Metter, JL Fleg, JL Fozard, MC Kostek, DM Wernick, BF Hurley.

Checked 8/9/08

May 11th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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