According to an article by experts at the University of Michigan Health System, published in The American Journal of Medicine, after an average of 18-20 weeks of progressive resistance training, an adult can add 2.42 pounds of lean muscle to their body mass and increases their overall strength by 25-30 percent.
“Resistance exercise is a great way to increase lean muscle tissue and strength capacity so that people can function more readily in daily life,” says Mark Peterson, Ph.D., a research fellow at the University of Michigan.
“Our analyses of current research show that the most important factor in somebody’s function is their strength capacity. No matter what age an individual is, they can experience significant strength improvement with progressive resistance exercise even into the eighth and ninth decades of life,” he says.
Exercises that use one’s own body weight include squats, standing up out of a chair, modified push-ups, lying hip bridges, as well as non-traditional exercises that progress through a full range of motion, such as Thai Chi or Pilates and Yoga.
After getting accustomed to these activities, older adults can move on to more advanced resistance training in an exercise and fitness facility. A certified trainer or fitness professional that has experience with special populations can help with the transition.
Peterson says you should feel comfortable asking a trainer whether they have experience working with ageing adults before you begin any fitness routine.
“Working out at age 20 is not the same as at age 70. A fitness professional who understands those differences is important for your safety. In addition, current recommendations suggest that an older individual participate in strengthening exercise two days per week,” Peterson says. “Based on the results of our studies, I would suggest that be thought of as the minimum.”