With age, people experience a progressive loss of muscle mass
and strength that can seriously reduce functional abilities.
Weight training can be an important way to counteract this
process. Proper diet, especially consuming protein after a
workout, can also
help to gain muscle size and strength. Does it matter when
this protein is ingested, though?
A recent study in The Journal of Physiology determined
the importance of when a protein supplement was taken after
exercise in seniors. Thirteen 70- to 80-year-old men completed
a resistance-training program consisting of three strength
exercises (leg press, knee extension, and lat pulldown - a
back exercise) done on fitness equipment, performed three
times per week. Seven of the men took a protein supplement
within five minutes of exercise, while the remaining six took
the supplement two hours later.
After 12 weeks, leg muscle size, isokinetic strength (force
against a nonmoving object), and overall lean body mass increased
in the immediate-supplementation group only. Both groups increased
the amount of weight used in their workouts - but the immediate-supplementation
group increased their strength by a larger margin.
If you are advancing into your senior years, itís especially
important that you maintain a regular workout to retain your
ability to perform daily physical tasks. Regular resistance
training or weightlifting can successfully prevent or slow
muscle and tissue loss. Also, be sure to eat a protein supplement
or high-protein food - poultry, fish, eggs, milk, beans -
immediately after you work out. Protein is the building block
your muscles require for repair and growth.
Esmarck B, Andersen JL, Olsen S, et al. Timing of postexercise
protein intake is important for muscle hypertrophy with resistance
training in elderly humans. The Journal of Physiology
2001:535, pp. 301-311.
For more information on senior health, go to http://www.chiroweb.com/tyh/senior.html