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Nutritional Needs For Aging Bodybuilders

Needs and Performance Change As You Age

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Nutritional Needs For Aging Bodybuilders Needs and Performance Change As You Age

Aging is inevitable. Unless we get run over by a bus, we are all going to get older. We don't have to stop training, though. In fact, the aging process will be far kinder to us if we continue to exercise; strength training, cardiovascular exercises and aerobics.

What we cannot do a lot about, however, are our energy consumption, aerobic performance and the response of our bodies to strenuous training.

An informed bodybuilder/athlete can prepare for these physical differences and continue to enjoy working out for their entire lives.

Energy Demand: A large portion of our daily energy demand comes from our resting metabolism. Our metabolism decreases with aging.

Part of this decrease is from the loss of muscle tissue (metabolically active muscle) and the increase in inert depot fat.

Strength training will abate that muscle loss and diet changes may eliminate the development of fat.

It is important that our diets provide enough nutrition; protein, carbohydrates and fat; to maintain our physical activity and muscle size and strength.

It may also be necessary to take dietary supplements to maintain bone density (calcium) and muscle density (protein/amino acids).

Aerobic Performance: Our maximum oxygen intake declines as we age. A lot of this loss may not be inevitable, but may be slowed or postponed by leading an active lifestyle, eating properly and exercising a lot. It is a mistake to reduce the rigor of our exercises.

Studies have shown that our oxygen intake will decrease more slowly as long as we continue strenuous exercising. If our exercise regimen is slowed or halted, the aging process will begin to speed up accordingly.

In short, we cannot stop the aging process, but it may be slowed by continuing a good exercise and nutrition program.

Studies have estimated that the aerobic power of a sixty-five year old may be maintained at the level of twenty years younger through an aerobic training regimen.

Body Function: Exercise is much more fatiguing as we age because of the diminishing oxygen intake. If this should occur, one answer is to perform more high rep-low weight exercises to lessen the fatigue.

We should still have one "heavy day" per week where we lift heavy weights for lower reps.

Any lessening of aerobic power should not limit very much the activities of a healthy, well-trained individual. Aerobic training will limit premature disability, thus leading to a more active, productive life.

Strength and Flexibility: Our muscular strength peaks about twenty-five to thirty-five years of age. Our strength begins to decline until at sixty-five we have lost about 25% of peak force.

This comes about because of diminished hormone production and other symptoms of aging.

The diminishing of our strength may be curtailed by resistance and strength training. Older bodybuilders do synthesize protein more slowly, so dietary supplementation may be necessary to maintain our muscle size and strength.

Stronger muscles stabilize the joints, lessening exposure to injury and the resulting arthritic conditions.

Flexibility decreases as we age because of the stiffening of our ligaments and tendons. Flexibility may be conserved by performing exercises that take all joints through their full range of movement.

Variable resistance exercise equipment like that manufactured by Nautilus, is known for full-range-of-movement exercises.

Skeletal Structure: Over time the calcium content of our bones decreases. This is far more apparent in women than in men, due to the differences in hormonal activity as we age.

This decrease is far less in the bones of an active bodybuilder/athlete of either gender.

In women, calcium loss may begin as early as thirty years of age and accelerate until menopause. Women's bones may become so weak that muscular contraction may cause fractures.

Exercise and calcium supplementation will slow this process markedly.

We will explore other aspects of the aging bodybuilder in future articles.


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