We All Lose Muscle Mass as We Age-Here Is What We Can Do About It
One of the many negatives about getting older is that we start to lose muscle mass as we age. Most of us start to lose muscle mass even as early as our 40s, which makes preventing this from happening a priority for almost everyone.
Not only are you going to lose that strength and ability you once had, but once muscle atrophy progresses too far, you can lose the ability to even get around. This is a major concern for everyone as they age, as they want to be as independent as they can be for as long as possible. No one wants to feel like a burden at an old age because they are dependent on others to get around, so do everything you can to stave off muscle loss.
What Are the Best Ways to Reduce Sarcopenia?
This muscle loss as we age, commonly referred to as sarcopenia, can be delayed and avoided by varying means. Here are some effective things you should be doing to delay this muscle loss:
Be as Active as You Possibly Can
The term “use it or lose it” exists for a reason, and one of the worst things we can do to ourselves in the fight against muscle loss is being inactive. Exercise, especially weight training and resistance exercise, is what will really work your muscles, causing them to continue to adapt and grow.
Many people make the mistake of thinking they can only exercise a few days a week, especially as we age. This is the wrong type of thinking as the opposite holds true, if possible you should be exercising every day.
Include More Protein in Your Diet
Unfortunately another downside to aging that goes along with the muscle loss itself is that we become more inefficient in processing the protein from our diets as well. This means it is important that we supplement our diet with more protein to make up this difference, so that we are getting enough to maintain our muscle mass.
When determining how much protein you need per day, don’t rely on the nutrition label you see on your egg carton, ground beef, or whatever other food you are looking to buy to increase your protein intake. The daily percentage value that they show on the label in regards to how much protein you need is really inaccurate.
In reality the amount of protein you are going to need is about twice that, try to eat at least .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight, ideally 1 gram per pound of body weight daily.
Make Sure You Are Choosing the Best Protein Sources
Another major problem many people face as they age is additional weight gain, and if you are trying to get more protein in your diet this means more calories and more weight. This means that you are going to have to choose your choices of protein wisely.
For example, many grains contain protein, however they contain a lot of carbohydrates and calories along with it. A very popular grain that is widely considered to be healthy is quinoa, because of its full amino acid profile along with the other benefits it provides.
Quinoa has 8 grams of protein for about 230 calories a serving, versus an egg which has the same amount of protein for only 90 calories or so.
The food sources you want to look to when you are considering a good source of protein are generally chicken, turkey, lentils, salmon, tuna, and milk products. You also want to be looking for the leanest versions of these food items as well, so stick to low fat milk and 90% or higher ground beef if possible.
Eat More Foods Rich in Omega 3 Fats
Another problem we face as we age are decreased levels of hormones, and we can help elevate these levels back up if we eat properly. Hormones control virtually everything that goes on in our bodies, including the growth and repair of muscle tissue via growth hormones.
Eating foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids gives our body the right building blocks to produce these hormones.
The best sources of omega 3 fatty acids are fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines. Nuts and seeds are also good sources of omega 3 fatty acids, as is grass fed beef. You can also add oils like flaxseed, coconut, or avocado to your dishes to provide you with these benefits as well.