Welcome to our Exercise Q&A forum!

Ask your exercise-related question, the Leap experts will answer them and give you some practical tips to take your exercise to the next level.

We’re bringing you science-backed information on exercise, so when you’re bombarded with the next latest and greatest exercise hack or fad, you’re empowered to objectively assess the claims, and know what’s true and what isn’t.

Often we find as we get older, it feels harder to build muscle and strength. Why is that?


Listen to our accredited Exercise Physiologist, Eliza’s, response – 

Some more info. – 

Why does my age impact my ability to gain muscle strength?

As we get older, a few things change both physiologically and in our lifestyle that affect our muscle growth.

  • Cellular level: As we age, our bodies have fewer muscle cells and fewer cells that turn into muscle cells.  The muscles cells also change how they store and use energy.
  • Neuromuscular changes: This means how well our brain communicates with the muscles, which influences the strength of the contraction and how much that muscle gets used.  If we activate that muscle contraction frequently, then we slow the decline in strength versus if we don’t activate the muscles that frequently.
  • Electrical charge: Electricity is required for the nervous system to send signals to activate muscles.  As we age, our muscles become less excitable, which means they don’t contract quite so easily.
  • Systemic changes: such as our hormones.  Growth hormones like testosterone and insulin-like growth factor support our muscle development and growth.  These hormones decline in concentration as we age.
  • Behavioural: the way we eat and move change over the course of our life.  As we get older, we don’t tend to take in enough energy (through food) to supply muscle growth, particularly protein which is critical for muscle growth.  Our caloric intake may reduce, or the quality of our caloric intake may reduce.  For example, 100 calories from lollies vs 100 calories from lean meat is used very differently by our bodies.  Furthermore, our physical activity levels tend to decline as we get older, particularly when it comes to incidental activities.

So what can we do about it?

Be smart with your planned exercise: be sure to incorporate resistance exercise and strength training in your exercise program to keep the muscles active!  Because as the saying goes ‘use it or lose it!’

If you’re in your 20 or 30s, aim to increase your lean muscle mass and create those valuable neurological connectivity, through a varied exercise program (meaning if all you do is running, then incorporate some deliberate strength training as part of your program).  A greater reserve means you can stave off the decline for as long as possible as you get older.  It also means you get to establish life-long healthy habits from an early age, before life’s commitments like starting a family and mortgage payments start to get in the way of developing a healthy habit.

For more information, check out our blog post ‘What’s the Best Exercise for My Age?

Are you lifting enough weight?

Progressive overload – we need to overload our muscles to make them adapt, grow, and get stronger.

For example, think about lifting 1kg weights vs 5kg weights. You’ve been consistently lifting the smaller weights and you’re feeling pretty comfortable doing
that, then you may not be providing enough stimulus for your muscles to grow. So progressively challenge your body by gradually increase your load.

Do you have a question for us?


Email us your question, and see if it’s featured in our monthly Q&A forum!