Here’s something that I’m betting you will not find too shocking. As you get over the 60+ hump, your muscular strength and ability to easily get around decreases. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that you can stop this process and even reverse it by strength training.
But is there anything else you can do to enhance the effectiveness of your strength training? Yes, there is. It’s a supplement I’ve been recommending for years.
It’s fish oil.
As you may know, I’m a big fan of fish oil. Now, a study has looked at the effect of fish oil supplements on strength training. And the results are impressive.
For the first study, the researchers enrolled 45 sedentary women between the ages of 63-66. Then they randomly assigned them to one of three different groups.
The first group entered into a three-month strength training program and additionally received two grams a day of fish oil. This amounts to two capsules, which is the amount that most doctors recommend.
The second group performed the program for 150 days and also got the supplements. The third group performed the same three-month exercise program but received no supplements. The researchers measured the muscle strength and functional movement ability in all the women before and after the training period.
Can you guess what happened?
There were no significant differences between the women before the study started. They were all equally out of shape. And what about the exercise effect? The peak strength and rate of strength improvement increased in all the groups. And what about the fish oil effect?
The improvement in strength and ability was greater in both of the fish oil groups. Not only that but the electrical efficiency of the muscles in the fish oil group improved while it remained unchanged in the exercise-only group. This probably explains how the fish oil supplements worked – by improving the electrical efficiency of the muscle cell membranes.
One thing older people can have problems with is getting out of chairs easily – especially low chairs. And according to the researchers, “Chair-rising performance in the fish oil groups was higher than in the exercise only group.” Their conclusion: “Strength training increased muscle strength in elderly women. The inclusion of fish oil supplementation caused greater improvements in muscle strength and functional capacity.”
So if you want to keep your strength as you age, make sure you take fish oil every day.
Rodacki, C.L., A.L. Rodacki, G. Pereira, et al. “Fish-oil supplementation enhances the effects of strength training in elderly women.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 February;95(2):428-36.
Smith, G.I., P. Atherton, D.N. Reeds, et al. “Dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis in older adults: a randomized controlled trial.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 February;93(2):402-12.