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April 11, 2019

How to Maintain Your Muscles Through The Years

Slowing The Aging Process With Lean Muscle Mass

Most people realize that the key to an active and healthy lifestyle well into your golden years starts with a healthy and fit body. In today’s fast-paced world with many demands on our bodies, our minds, and our time, it can seem difficult to prioritize our health and stay fit and agile as we age.

One key component in making sure you age gracefully is keeping your muscles toned and in shape. Most adults achieve their peak muscle mass sometime in their mid-thirties or early forties–after that, there is a gradual loss of muscle tissue over time. This age-related loss of muscle mass and loss of strength is known as sarcopenia. Sarcopenia can happen faster than you might think, with inactive people losing as much as 5 percent muscle mass every decade after thirty. With this alarming statistic hanging over our aging heads, what can be done to maintain your strength and muscle mass as long as possible?

Rest assured, there are some things you can do right in the comfort of your own home to prevent the loss of muscle tissue and the decline in strength associated with aging. While these things take some commitment and a bit of time, facing your senior years healthy and strong is a much more attractive vision of the future than having to deal with all of the medical risks and illness associated with sarcopenia. Here are some ways to maintain your muscle mass and sail into your later years:

1. Exercise!

Adopting a sedentary lifestyle is the absolute worst thing you can do for yourself as you age. Although you may be feeling a bit more fatigue these days, committing to a workout regime and staying active is key to warding off sarcopenia. Weight and resistance training are of particular importance, for these types of exercises protect bone density as well. Experts recommend moderate exercise sessions at least three times weekly for best results.


2. Increase your protein intake

Proteins are the building blocks of muscle, and consuming lean and healthy sources of protein will help you build new muscle fibers and help your existing ones to recover from exercise. It is recommended that healthy adults consume 1.2 grams per kilogram daily to maintain current muscle mass.

Keep in mind, not all proteins are created equal. Choosing items like egg whites, lean chicken and fish, and legumes will positively impact your body’s ability to rebuilt and repair muscle fiber. A good greasy burger is in order from time to time, but consider the consequences of getting your daily protein from unhealthy sources–there is no substitute for a good healthy diet.

Recommended proteins for building lean and healthy muscle include:

  • grass fed beef
  • whey protein
  • lentils
  • wild caught fish
  • organic poultry
  • black beans
  • natto
  • raw milk
  • kefir or yogurt
  • raw cheese
  • eggs

Eat plenty of these to repair and maintain lean muscle mass for years to come.

3. Increase your consumption of Omega-3’s

Consumption of Omega-3’s increases your rate of muscle protein synthesis; choosing foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids will help you to increase and maintain your lean muscle mass.

4. Keep your hormones in check

Hormonal changes significantly impact your lean muscle mass. If you are over 40, it might be a good idea to check your hormone balance at regular physical check-ups. Deficiencies of essential hormones such as DHEA, testosterone, and estrogen can be addressed with natural supplementation; you might consider a bcaa blend to help boost your production of vital hormones. Women that are going through menopause should pay particular attention to their hormone levels, as they also have an impact on bone density and overall strength.

5. Supplement with vitamin D

Low levels of vitamin D in the body are associated with weakness, muscle instability, and even disabilities in some people. An estimated 90 percent of people over 40 have a vitamin D deficiency; taking a trusted supplement will help to ward off symptoms of sarcopenia and allow you to maintain the strength and mobility that you desire well into your 50s and beyond.

6. Increase anti-inflammatory foods

Chronic inflammation is brought about by a combination of diet, environmental stressors, and the gradual breakdown of the body’s tissues as we age. Eating anti-inflammatory foods will help to ward off some of the degenerative processes that begin after we hit our mid-thirties. Foods such as green leafy vegetables, blueberries, pineapple, and salmon are excellent choices that provide power packed nutrient value while soothing inflammatory responses of the body.

7. Watch your alcohol intake, and cut back on the smoking

Drinking alcohol to excess actually causes muscle tissue to atrophy as a means of protecting itself from free radical damage. Cutting back on social drinks will help you to maintain your lean muscle tissue and protect those muscle fibers from wear and tear. Smoking also causes damage to muscle tissue; sarcopenia symptoms are hastened by the effects of smoking, decreasing bone density and bringing about a state of increased weakness of both bone and muscle tissue. Avoiding these two activities if at all possible is the best recipe for success when trying to stay fit and healthy as you age.

While it is not possible to delay the aging process inevitably, it is possible to enjoy a better quality of life through being fit and healthy. Doing what you can to eat a balanced diet, stay active, and eliminate habits that are detrimental to your health will allow you to lead a longer, healthier life.

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Mikkie Mills  |  Contribution: 1,815