When it comes to your health and well-being, good nutrition and lifestyle habits should work hand in hand. Poor habits such as smoking, lack of exercise and inadequate diet can have a cumulative effect on our bodies as we age. It is important for adults to keep a healthy diet, as good eating habits can strengthen the immune system, improve your ability to recover from illness, help prevent chronic disease, and help maintain muscle health.
Starting at age 40, adults can lose up to 8% of their muscle mass per decade. After 70 years old, that rate may double. Advanced muscle loss, or sarcopenia, affects nearly 1 in 3 people over the age 50. Not only are muscles important for everyday physical tasks like picking things up, reaching for something, opening a jar or getting up off a chair, but healthy muscles are essential for organ function, skin health, immunity and your metabolism. In other words, maintaining muscle mass as you age is essential for prolonging a happy and healthy life.
The good news is that with the right steps you can help prevent or slow any muscle loss. While aging is natural, muscle loss doesn't have to be inevitable. Rebuilding muscle and strength can be achieved through a combination of strength exercises and a complete, balanced diet with sufficient protein.
Here are five facts to keep in mind about your muscles in your 40's, 50's, 60's and beyond.
Strong is The New 50
What to know about maintaining your muscles as you get older, the good news is muscle loss can be reversed.
1. Muscle loss with age is a real deal
Muscle loss becomes a reality when you hit 40 years old, where you can start to lose up to 8% per decade. This loss translates to about 15% of your body's muscle by 70 years old.
2. Maintaining muscle goes beyond strength
- Muscles play a key role in movement, including balance and posture, and the body's metabolism.
- They can control how tired or energized you feel, and can even impact things like your body's oxygen consumption.
- Your heart is a muscle and needs muscle mass to pump strongly.
That's why it's important to start thinking about the health of muscles, similar to how we look at things like bone health.
3. Get a grip
Studies have shown that your hand grip firmness is accurate more than your blood pressure when it comes to assessing muscle strength or your ability to recover from a hospital stay and quality of life.
So how do you test your grip strength? Some healthcare facilities may have grip meters, but it can be as simple as opening a jar, squeezing an orange or noticing the firmness of your handshake. If you detect a difference in your strength, it may be time to do something.
it's never too late to regain muscle and strength. It can be achieved through a combination of strength exercises and a complete, balanced diet with sufficient protein.
4. Eat right to build back up, make sure you're getting enough protein
It's important to stay well-nourished at your age especially if you're a senior, you also need to ensure that you eat well and get the recommended amount of protein for your activity level, for the good sources of protein is from lean meats, eggs and beans.
5. Talk to your healthcare provider about nutrition, to reduce the loss of muscle mass and strength
Current dietary recommendations suggest that adults eat 0.36 grams of protein per day for every pound they weigh. That's about 56 grams for men and 46 for women. But some experts recommend getting almost twice that amount as you age1, especially if you're recovering from surgery, battling an illness or are malnourished.
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