Live Longer As you Get Older by Doing one Thing

Older woman in gym

A little effort goes a long way as you age

I saw a fascinating post regarding the oldest bodybuilder at 89. Jim looks pretty good for his age, and I appreciated the history behind his story. Back then, bodybuilders would drink quarts of milk (think Arnold) and use basic exercises to gain muscle. He’s won many bodybuilding titles, and Jim was named the oldest competitive bodybuilder in the Guinness World records. Things were a lot simpler than without protein shakes, powders and supplements. You can read more about his journey here. Building muscle and maintaining it into old age has various benefits — particularly for your health and longevity. Of course, there is no need to go all out and become a bodybuilder, but developing and maintaining a tight-nit schedule for life, is the way to go. Researcher’s analysed data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examinations Survey between 1988 and 1994. The focused age group was between men who were 55 and women who were 65 or older at the survey time. Many individuals would have passed away due to natural causes before the follow-up survey conducted in 2004. Each subject’s body composition was measured, which consisted of running electrical currents within the body. Muscle allows the current to pass more quickly than fat does. This helped researchers to determine the muscle index of each person. Then the researchers looked at how muscle impacted the risk of death. What was uncovered made a lot of sense. The greater your muscle mass, the lower your risk of death. So, it makes sense that instead of worrying about fat stores or weight, focusing on maximising and maintaining muscle as you age is a much better goal. As with any research, there are limitations as one cannot establish a cause-and-effect relationship between muscle mass and survival — but we can say that muscle mass seems to be a significant predictor of the risk of death. So, what can you do to increase your chances of developing and maintaining muscle mass as you age? First, start lifting some weights regularly. Let’s look at some secrets from the oldest bodybuilder Jim Arrington, since he’s been bodybuilding for over 74 years.


One: Learning from someone that’s way ahead of you

Although Jim would work out at Golds regularly, brushing shoulders with the greats daily, he would always ask for advice and tips on building muscle faster and the underlying secrets of bodybuilding. If we structure that in today’s setting, that would be the equivalent of a personal trainer or someone with many years of experience. During my bodybuilding journey, I made sure to have a reputable trainer structure my workouts, give me tips on how to train correctly, and help me with my diet. It’s not easy to work it out yourself or take stabs in the dark as a means of trial and error. But Jim does say to do what works best for you. We all have different body types. Most people struggle to put on muscle, while others find it easy. There is no simple way to find out what works unless you get in there and try a few things.


Two: Have an end goal in mind

This is important during muscle building and fat loss. First, we have to have a target and find out how we can get there. Arrington finds it inspiring that people look up to him for the way he’s maintained his body shape. That keeps him going and sticking to the best training regime for his body and genetics. Find someone or some goal that inspires you. Maybe you want to compete in a show, look and feel better, eliminate disease or look younger. Pick your goal and slowly chip away at it.


Three: Always have a training program

So many people go into the gym and do ‘anything’, but that won’t get you very far. When I began my bodybuilding journey, a program was essential. So I stuck with it for four weeks, then had one de-loading week (all my exercises but with fewer reps) and began another program. Every week, I aimed to add more weight to the bar. Exercising correctly, adding more weight to the bar and sticking with the schedule every time I worked out. It was the key reason I had a level of success: a plan is always the best way to achieve your goal. 

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