As we age, we start to lose muscle due to hormonal changes, along with a lack of protein and exercise. Because muscle helps stabilize bones, muscle loss can also start to cause joint problems especially in the hips and knees. And if you have certain medical conditions such as diabetes, heart or kidney disease, it can accelerate the loss of muscle.
It’s important to do what you can to preserve muscle. Diminished muscle mass can cause bad posture, breathing problems, lack of balance resulting in falls, and even mental conditions such as depression.
While many people consider losing muscle mass as just collateral damage of the aging process, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Hormonal Replacement Therapy
For example if the cause of muscle loss is due to low testosterone, hormonal replacement therapy can bring the level back up where it should be. A simple test at the doctor’s office can confirm if your level is low or not.
Eat More Protein
Because a lack of protein is a cause for muscle loss in older adults, ensure you are eating good lean sources of it each day, including chicken breasts, fish, egg whites and turkey. Strive to eat at least seven grams of protein per twenty pounds of body weight daily.
Stay away from heavy sauces, fried foods and bakery products as they are loaded with saturated fat, sugar and sodium – all of which are not good for you.
And the last one, exercise, is more important now that it was when you were younger, yet many seniors don’t exercise at all.
Not only will it make your joints feel better by keeping them moving, but it will preserve (and even build) muscle.
A mix of cardio and strength training is the best. Cardio can be as simple as going for a brisk walk every day. That will warm up most of your large muscle groups. Then once the muscles are war, do some light strength training, such as weight lifting, to increase muscular strength. Start and end your workouts with some light stretching.
Keeping the proper testosterone levels, eating adequate protein and exercising regularly, can stall (or at least slow down) the aging process and the resulting loss of muscle. By maintaining adequate muscle, you can also avoid bone and joint problems.