Join the club for FREE to access the whole archive and other member benefits.

Muscle power in the golden years: age is just a number!


As the global population ages, the importance of maintaining physical health in our golden years is clearer than ever. Muscle strength isn't just for the young and athletic; it's crucial for everyday tasks and overall well-being in older age. But how does age influence the ability to gain muscle and strength, especially when comparing those in their late 60s and 70s to those above 85? A recent study sheds light on this intriguing question.

The Research: Setting the Stage

Researchers from various institutions embarked on a mission to understand the effects of resistance exercise training (RET) on older adults. The study focused on two age brackets: those aged between 65–75 years and those above 85 years.

Participants and Methods

Twenty-nine healthy participants were involved in this study. The group consisted of 17 older adults between 65 and 75 years (13 females and 4 males) and 12 older adults above 85 years (7 females and 5 males).

The inclusion criteria ensured that participants were between the ages of 65-75 or above 85, had a body mass index between 18.5 and 30 kg/m^2, and were community-dwelling. Individuals who had engaged in regular resistance exercise training in the previous six months or had certain cardiovascular diseases were excluded from the study.

Results: The Power of Resistance

After twelve weeks of resistance exercise training, both age groups experienced significant increases in muscle mass. Specifically, there was a 10%±4% increase in the quadriceps cross-sectional area for the 65–75 age group and an 11%±5% increase for those above 85.

What This Means for Us

The results are encouraging and highlight that age, even beyond 85, isn't a significant barrier to gaining muscle through resistance training. The human body remains adaptable and capable of positive change. This study underscores the importance of regular physical activity and resistance training in maintaining and improving muscle strength and function in older age.

In conclusion, it's never too late to start! Whether you're in your 60s, 70s, or even your 80s, resistance exercise training can be a powerful tool to keep you strong and active. As always, it's essential to consult with healthcare professionals before starting any exercise regimen.


Muscle Mass and Strength Gains Following Resistance Exercise Training in Older Adults 65–75 Years and Older Adults Above 85 Years - International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism - research by Universidad de La Frontera and Maastricht University Medical Centre.

You're never too old to fight sarcopenia and muscle loss - keep up that resistance exercise training!

Mentioned in this article:

Click on resource name for more details.

Maastricht University

Public research university in Maastricht, Netherlands.

University of La Frontera (UFRO)

UFRO is one of the top public universities in Temuco, Chile

Muscle power in the golden years: age is just a number!