How To Maintain Muscle Mass As You Age – LIFESTYLE BY PS icon

How To Maintain Muscle Mass As You Age

Maintain Muscle Mass

It is natural to experience a reduction in your muscle strength, mass, and function as part of the aging process. A US study says individuals may lose 3-5% of mass every decade after turning 30. Unfortunately, losing muscle mass can increase your risk of falls and injuries. Muscle loss also affects your balance and vitality, making daily tasks such as dressing, walking, and climbing the stairs increasingly difficult. Why not take a few steps to ensure you perform what you enjoy or live freely as you age? Below are a few ways to maintain your muscle mass as you age.

  • Strengthening exercises

  • Living a more active lifestyle is one of the best approaches for avoiding muscle loss. It is an effective way to manage muscle loss, especially when aging or having a severe chronic or acute condition. It has been demonstrated to boost strength, aerobic capacity, and muscle protein synthesis in young and elderly persons. Resistance training, for instance, has been proven to enhance muscular strength and decrease frailty in seniors. While it is advisable to engage in physical activity daily, exercise at least three times weekly to avoid sarcopenia and slow down muscle loss.

  • Include more protein in your diet

  • When you consume protein-rich meals, your body converts them into muscle-building substances such as amino acids. However, all proteins are different, so pay attention to the type of protein you take to reduce muscle loss. Some of the greatest protein sources are whey protein, organic chicken, raw milk, yogurt, raw cheese, and seafood such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon. Consuming enough protein to create and maintain muscle mass would be beneficial. Meanwhile, you will likely experience “muscle wasting” if your protein lacks amino acids.

  • Stay hydrated

  • Several studies revealed insufficient water can adversely affect your health and fitness. It can also contribute to losing physical strength, muscle mass breakdown, and injury. This effect has been observed even in young athletes. Indeed, one study found that when trained and fit young men participated in resistance training without proper hydrating, their workout did not trigger the normal hormonal response necessary for boosting muscle mass gain. On the other hand, catabolic or muscle-wasting compounds such as cortisol increased.

  • Hormonal balance and omega 3 intake

  • Several hormonal factors can cause muscle mass loss. People aged 40 and above should consider monitoring their hormone levels annually. They can also consider hormone replacement therapy to address deficiencies in your body’s critical hormones. There are also various natural strategies to regulate hormones, which is vital for preventing muscle loss.

    Numerous studies have indicated the crucial role of omega-3 fatty acids in promoting hormonal balance and muscle development. One prevailing perspective is that these fatty acids play a significant role in combating “inflammaging” which refers to age-related chronic low-grade inflammation.

    Inflammaging increases pro-inflammatory cytokine production, affecting the signaling systems responsible for muscle formation and breakdown. Suppose you are experiencing elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. If you're grappling with persistent inflammation that hampers your muscle-building efforts, consider boosting your omega-3 intake with a quality supplement like Omega 3 Fish Oil by DMoose. The omega-3s derived from fish oil not only contribute to alleviating inflammation but also play a crucial role in enhancing your body’s muscle-building capacity. Additionally, these essential fatty acids provide added benefits by promoting joint and bone strength, making them a valuable addition to your overall well-being.

  • Get a sufficient night’s sleep

  • Life can be stressful, yet sleep allows you to unplug and recover. Getting a few hours of sleep, at least seven hours each night, can allow your body to heal from pain or injuries it may be experiencing. Often, we sacrifice some hours’ sleep to get some things done before the next day’s activities kick in. However, you may be doing your body more harm than good. Get as much as sleep as possible to maintain healthy muscle mass as you grow.

  • Quit smoking 

  • Muscle mass loss adds to the many reasons you should avoid or quit smoking. Cigarette smoking is linked to unhealthy lifestyle behaviors such as lack of physical exercise and poor diet. Also, smoking is yet another lifestyle behavior that has been linked to sarcopenia.

    According to studies, men and women who smoked were likely to have muscle loss. The study also mentioned that smokers had lower relative appendicular muscle mass than those who never smoked. Meanwhile, males with sarcopenia smoked much more. Therefore, it’s advisable to avoid this as much as possible to avoid severe muscle mass loss.

  • Limit your alcohol intake

  • Excessive alcohol intake weakens your muscles over time. Therefore, it is best to limit your alcohol intake as you age. You may want to reassess your alcohol usage if you notice muscle mass loss. Alcohol harms skeletal muscle, causing it to deteriorate and waste away. Like smokers, alcohol abusers typically have reduced muscle mass and strength, soreness, cramps, gait issues, and falls.

    Most alcoholic beverages are empty calories and deplete your body’s essential nutrients. Excessive alcohol consumption might also lead to inflammation. To decrease inflammation, you should considerably boost your food intake if you have sarcopenia. It is simpler to quit drinking if you limit your alcohol consumption or avoid it completely.

  • Increase your Vitamin D levels

  • Several studies suggest that older people with lower vitamin D levels will likely experience a significant loss in their muscle strength, causing shakiness, falls, and injuries. Vitamin D is a common deficiency in aging individuals, regardless of ethnicity or race.

    One study mentioned that nearly 42% of US adults are vitamin D deficient. Fortunately, you can find vitamin D in fatty fish and fish liver oil. There are also small quantities of vitamin D in cheese, beef liver, and egg yolks. While you can get a good dose of vitamin D from the sun, consider getting vitamin D supplements to enhance your muscle mass and function. However, ensure to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.

  • Set smart goals

  • Setting unrealistic goals for areas such as working out make achieving them challenging and may eventually affect your health. While it is good to set high goals, it would help to set targets that benefit every aspect of your life. You may be tempted to try unsafe methods to maintain your muscle mass.

    Following your exercise plan may be hard when you’re unimpressed with your gains. That might be a good time to consider the SMART approach to set specific, measurable, action-based, realistic, and time-based weight goals. When properly documented, you will be objective in measuring your goals, and it will be easier to track your progress.

  • Talk to your doctor

  • You could be losing weight if you notice muscle mass loss. It is critical to consult your doctor if you are unintentionally losing weight or lost a lot suddenly. Often, it is not how much weight you lose but how quickly. There could be many underlying reasons for your unexplained weight loss, and your doctor will be better positioned to provide more information about your condition. It is best to be specific and give more details to enable your doctor to get to its root.

    For instance, you can be specific about how much weight you have lost in the last two weeks or reduced clothing size last month. Being specific is more useful than just reporting weight or muscle loss. Your physician will likely ask you about any symptoms you have noticed and determine if your muscle loss could indicate a more severe health condition.

    While you can do little about preventing age-related muscle loss, you may slow down the loss and remain strong by implementing a few of the above tips. The smallest effort you make today can be beneficial for living a stronger future.