You may be familiar with osteoporosis, which is the significant loss of bone mass as one ages. But have you ever heard of sarcopenia? This refers to the significant loss of muscle mass as one ages. Everyone will begin naturally losing muscle mass around the age of 30.
Unfortunately the loss will probably not be noticeable until much later, perhaps after 50, when you will start to notice increasing difficulty in performing everyday tasks. It is never too early to start healthy lifestyle patterns that will keep your body healthy and fit as you age. If you are older and feel that too much damage has already been done, don’t despair! There are still ways to gain back lost muscle and improve your well-being.
As with any health discussion, the two most important changes you need to make involve diet and exercise.
To improve your muscle mass as you age, you will need to incorporate more protein and lean fat into your diet. You will also need to limit the amount of sugar you consume. Sugar can inhibit the body’s ability to store lean protein and build muscle. Other less obvious nutrients that will help you keep your muscles healthy are Vitamin D and HMB, found in certain fishes, fruits, and vegetables.
Any type of exercise will be beneficial to maintain muscle, but exercising smart can be even more effective. Adding small weights around your wrists or ankles while performing normal activities or low-impact exercises is a really easy way to start. Swimming is also effective due to the resistance of the water. This is great for the elderly because it puts less strain on already tender joints. Don’t forget, it is always best to consult your physician to find the fitness plan that is right for you.