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Keeping that Muscle Magic

Keeping that Muscle Magic

While it’s great if you were active and built your muscles when you were young, you need to stay pumped up, too. Around age 30, muscle mass starts declining. That’s especially true if you—like 79% of North Americans—are sedentary. And even if you’re active, you’re going to need to push it to overcome an age-related, muscle-defeating decline in hormones (growth hormone, testosterone, insulin-like growth factor) and protein synthesis. Losing muscle mass makes you vulnerable to everything from obesity to falls.

The good news? You can increase your strength 25-30% and add over two pounds of muscle (that’s a lot!) in around 18 weeks with progressive resistance training. To start, use your own body weight as resistance. Three days a week, do exercises like push-ups and sit-ups or yoga, tai chi, and Pilates. Dr. Mike’s Cleveland Clinic suggests you choose eight exercises and do 10-12 reps of each. Then graduate to resistance bands and/or 1-2 pound hand weights. About every two weeks, increase your number of reps (up to 12) or speed and/or weight.

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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