Randy and JoAnn Bridges may not fit the weight lifting stereotype, but they're pumped up about getting stronger. "You just have more energy, you know if you're in better, better shape, you just feel better," says JoAnn.
They're part of a strength training study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, targeting age-related muscle loss. "You have sort of a slow decline during your mid- to late-thirties and early forties, and then on into the early fifties, and then from that point on it becomes more rapid," says Dr. Marcas Bamman, Ph.D.
Participants try one of four strength building programs, varying in intensity and frequency. The study will compare those who have worked out once a week, versus twice, versus three times each week.
Everyone is monitored, not only for good form, but also to offer extra motivation. "You're supposed to do as many as we can possibly do 'til exhaustion - not just get til you tired and quit," says Randy.
Ultimately, the aim is to define the right strength training 'prescription' for older adults. What might be ideal for older men, may not be ideal for older women. They're still working on whether they need gender specific programming.
Researchers say after the age of 25, adults lose one half pound of muscle a year. Resistance training needs to be done consistently in order to maintain the muscle gained.