Flabbiness, especially in the arms and thighs, occurs in part because of a syndrome called sarcopenia — age-related muscle loss combined with the loss of elasticity in the skin. The loss of muscle mass is not inevitable, however. To preserve muscle mass, you can do cardiovascular exercise and weight lifting or resistance exercise training.
The Obesity Society recommends resistance exercise training to avoid both sarcopenia and obesity as a person gets older. If you have never done resistance exercise, it is best to start with a trainer to avoid injury. Resistance training has been shown to increase muscle mass even among 70- to 90-year-olds.
We now have an aging population combined with an epidemic of obesity in this country, a phenomenon now being called sarcopenic obesity — as people get older, they are getting heavier and losing muscle mass. A healthy diet along with aerobic and resistance exercise is the antidote. It may be possible to prevent most of the sarcopenia seen in the older population if resistance exercise training is incorporated into a workout routine two to three times per week, especially for perimenopausal and postmenopausal women and older men.
Not only is weight lifting and weight-bearing exercise important for your muscles, it’s also important for maintaining your bone mineral density, which decreases in women dramatically at perimenopause. In addition to exercise, a healthy diet with adequate amounts of protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can enhance muscle and decrease body fat. If you don’t consume milk products, it’s essential to take a vitamin D supplement with calcium. All these dietary and exercise recommendations will help with muscle mass and can prevent sarcopenia.
by Dr. Caroline Apovian for Everyday Health