As a man enters his 60s, the gradual decline in testosterone over the years, a less active lifestyle and lack of exercise result in loss of muscle, accompanied by a sluggish metabolic rate that encourages fat storage and weight gain. Despite these ravages of time, a 60 year old man can lose weight and build muscle by embarking on a selective exercise program and making certain changes to his diet
The University of California, Berkeley, emphasis the importance of strength training for older people in its fitness and nutrition newsletter. UC Berkeley dispels the myth that strength training is for bodybuilders or the young. Strength training builds muscle, assists fat loss, increases bone density and helps to counteract the decline in muscle strength that accompanies aging. Strength training with resistance machines and free weights should be accompanied by cardiovascular exercise that promotes heart and lung health and also assists in weight loss.
The strength training aspect of your program should include use of resistance machines, barbells and dumbbells. Working on the major muscle groups such as the chest, shoulders, upper back, and quadriceps involves compound multi-joint movements which also bring into play the smaller muscles such as the triceps, biceps and hamstrings. Do whole-body workouts three times a week, two sets per exercise, eight to 12 repetitions, 30 minutes per workout, ideally on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This will give you much-needed rest between workouts. This is when muscle growth actually occurs.
Your main exercises should include dumbbell bench presses or chest presses. The primary muscles worked are the chest, secondary front deltoids and triceps. Do dumbbell presses or seated shoulder presses for the shoulders, with a secondary effect on the triceps. Lat pull-downs or seated row-pulls work the upper back with a secondary effect on the biceps. Leg presses work the quadriceps with a secondary effect on the hamstrings.
To prevent injuries, it is essential that you warm up before each workout. This should comprise 15 to 30 minutes of low intensity cardiovascular exercise on the treadmill, stair climber, rowing machine or elliptical machine. Follow this with static stretching exercises that will further prepare your muscles for the activity ahead. The cardio exercises will metabolize fat for energy and burn calories
According to the Mayo Clinic, core exercises help to improve your balance and stability.
Your abdominal muscles help to stabilize your trunk and you should exercise them regularly. Do two or three sets of abdominal crunches each time you work out.
Guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend that you eat a variety of nutritious foods, while limiting your intake of transfats, saturated fats, sugar, salt and alcohol.
Complex carbohydrates such as oats, sweet potatoes and other whole grains provide sustained energy for your daily activities. Eat four to five small meals daily instead of the traditional two or three, but limit complex carbs to one or two meals. Ensure you have muscle-building protein together with fruits and vegetables, which provide fiber, vitamins and minerals with each meal.
Avoid simple and refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice and other refined grains. Limit your sugar intake and avoid candy and junk foods. These foods release quick energy which goes straight to your fat stores. You should also eat less fat without compromising your intake of essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids from flax, pumpkin or hemp seed oils, which are essential for the proper functioning of the body. A properly functioning body is better able to build muscle and maintain a healthy weight.