Is it all bad news? Not entirely.Whatever your age, any physical activity will change your muscle fibres and therefore make a difference to your muscle structure: so, nothing is set in stone!

Why do some people lose more Muscle Mass than others?

When you get older, your body produces fewer anabolic hormones (the hormones that provide (good) organic tissue building). It's sad, but that's the way it is.

However, it's important to know that there are two factors behind this reduction in hormones. And there are ways to fight back:- a sedentary lifestyle.

It's a no-brainer - a lack of exercise will lead to muscle wastage. Therefore, there are ways to remedy this. Among the recommended sports, you might be interested to see weight training (it's not just for 20-year-old bodybuilders).

Of course, the activity needs to be adapted to the age group... and it's the same for everyone and every age. To avoid slipping into a sedentary lifestyle, you can also modify some of your daily habits (for instance, how often do you drive somewhere when you could cycle instead?).

Also, don't forget that gardening, playing with your grandchildren or nieces and nephews, or even a summer game of boules in the garden all counts too!

- a lack of protein: muscles are 20% protein. And they store half of all the protein present in the body! Whichever type of protein you choose (animal or plant), there's just one thing to remember: low-calorie diets aren't recommended for senior citizens.

A lack of vitamin D can also play a role in muscle atrophy (muscle cells have vitamin D receptors).

What about Bones?

As if muscle wastage weren't enough, you have to be aware of a second condition that often accompanies old age: osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a decalcification of the bones, making them more fragile.

There are several causes behind this illness: ageing, the menopause, genetics, certain illnesses, alcohol, tobacco, certain medicines, a diet low in protein or calcium, a lack of vitamin D etc.

A lack of exercise can also be to blame: by putting pressure on your bones, you stimulate bone production.

Basically, if you don't use your bones and your muscles, they will get lazy.


however: if you have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis, don't try combat sports and risk breaking something!

Ok. So. that's how sport can benefit Senior Citizens?

There are many benefits to exercising:

  • it boosts the morale
  • it soothes muscle aches and therefore allows you to cut down on medication
  • it stimulates your immune system, so you have stronger defences against viruses
  • it helps to fight against arthritis: no exercise = muscle wastage = the joints are no longer supported
  • it trains your memory: doing sport means you have to use different zones of your brain
  • it boosts your self-esteem.In a nutshell, exercise allows you to maintain a healthy lifestyle (and this applies to all ages).

However, the sport you choose must be adapted to your abilities and physical capacities. Please consult your GP before you take up any new sports.

sports for senior citizens

So, What about Combat Sports?

Coordination, laterality, proprioception, muscle tone, flexibility, and increased balance.

These are just some of the benefits of combat sports.

The increase in balance is particularly helpful for older people. Unfortunately, senior citizens are prone to falls.

And falling can have serious repercussions! Trauma, fractures, post-fall syndrome, the negative effect on the kidneys from lying on the floor for a long period of time...There are a number of unfortunate consequences possible.


The benefit of combat sports, notably judo, is the dual workout: physical AND mental exercise.

Learning to fall without hurting yourself is also a significant advantage.

There are three types of fall:

  • forwards (knowing how to anticipate the fall means you can roll while protecting your arm, thus breaking your fall to avoid fracturing your wrist),
  • backwards (when it's important to protect your vertebrae and avoid banging the back of your head),
  • sideways (when the neck of the femur is at risk).

With regular training, you will learn to anticipate and break your fall.It could stop you from fracturing something! Sounds good, right?

One last thing

When you get older, it is only the muscle fibres used for sudden movements that are reduced. That's why many older people can still walk long distances... but may have trouble opening a bottle of water for example.

A loss of muscle mass has another unwanted side effect: less strength = more dependence.


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