Aging comes with many of the unwelcomed changes in our body. You might already have noticed some changes, like not having as much stamina or feeling a lack of strength that you once had, especially by the age of 50, which is not exactly surprising, as your body will lose bone density and muscle mass as you age.
Muscle loss due to aging is also known as sarcopenia, and as stated by Harvard Health Publishing, we lose 3% to 5% of our muscle mass each decade after the age of 30.
According to a 2010 study in Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle, between 11 and 50 percent of individuals of age 80 and older and 5 to 13 percent of those between the ages of 60 and 70 suffer from sarcopenia.
As we lose muscle mass, our muscle strength, shape, and ability to do basic tasks such as moving around, carrying groceries, recover from illness.
Fortunately, the condition is preventable by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet, enter your golden years with a healthy body to enjoy a great life. Here’s how you can prevent muscle loss as you age.
Include protein-rich food in your diet.
According to studies, adults can lose as much as 8 percent of muscle mass per decade after the age of 40. One of the primary reasons adults are significantly affected by a decline in muscle mass is the lack of proper nutrients such as protein, amino acids, and calories.
According to an AARP survey, 70 percent of adults reported increasing the intake of high-protein food, and 62 percent of adults claimed they get enough protein, but only 17 percent of them said they knew how much protein they require. So, what is the necessary amount of protein that an adult should get every day? According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein should be taken per kilogram of weight.
Also, make sure that you do not get lost between numbers; according to the 2015-20 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it is ideal that you focus on including protein-rich food in your diet rather than focusing on a specific amount of protein.
Double up on Nutrients
Rather than cramming protein-rich foods in your diet, try to balance your protein intake throughout the day. Intake of protein helps provide the required amino acid for muscle repair as well as growth, which can help in preventing muscle loss.
According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2014 by a University of Texas, A 25% increase in muscle protein synthesis was found when protein intake was evenly divided into a 30 gram serving for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as opposed to a random amount of intake of protein.
Other than including protein-rich food in your diets, such as yogurt and tuna, you can also include supplements in your diet to compensate for nutrients that you might not be getting in enough quantity through your diet. Although animal-based whey protein can provide you with a sufficient amount of proteins, there are also high-quality protein sources that are plant-based, such as pea and soy protein powder, Spirulina, chlorella powder.
While protein is vital, you must also intake an adequate amount of carbohydrates, which is an energy source that your body utilizes while you exercise. Middle and older-aged individuals should have sufficient carbohydrates in their diets. Fruits, whole grains, vegetables should be preferred over highly processed foods. Fresh whole foods also provide you with nutrients and vitamins that your body requires.
Follow a workout routine.
Weight training and cardiovascular exercises are essential as they continuously activate as well as signal the muscles to grow.
A 2011 study in the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that men and women who started weight training in their 60s and 70s developed muscles as strong and large as people in their 40s.
Set a goal for 150 to 300 minutes of any kind of moderate endurance exercise per week along with weight training exercise three times per week to improve strength and build muscles.
Initially, begin with 8 to 10 reps of one exercise for each body part, take a 30 to 60-second rest between each set, and gradually increase the exercises to 4 for each body part to gain maximum benefit.
While building a workout plan, make sure it focuses on your entire body, such as exercises that target the chest, arms, legs, back, and abdominals. You can also try strength-building classes such as Pilates and Yoga.
Get enough sleep.
Another major factor that contributes to the degeneration of muscles is the lack of adequate sleep. As a matter of fact, sleeping is as necessary as exercise and proper nutrition for the growth and repair of muscles. Sufficient sleep will decrease the rate of muscle degeneration and increase the synthesis of proteins. According to the National Sleep Foundation, it is recommended that adults get seven to eight hours of sleep each night for optimum health.
In addition, your body needs rest to regenerate itself after a workout, and the majority of that work happens while you are asleep.
Get enough Vitamin D.
A lack of Vitamin D in your body can impact its ability to build muscles. Age itself can make you susceptible to a lack of vitamin D; Studies have found that Vitamin D can improve muscle weakness conditions. Alternatively, lack of Vitamin D can also lead to muscle wasting. Sitting out in the sunlight for no more than 15 minutes without sunscreen on a daily basis can help raise Vitamin D levels in your body.
You can also get Vitamin D through orange juice, fortified milk, fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, cereals, or egg yolks.
By following a workout routine regularly, adhering to a proper diet, as well as getting adequate sleep, you can slow down the process of muscle degeneration caused by age. Allowing you to enjoy things you love, whether that is fishing, gardening, or spending quality time with your family.