Do you think that all of the effects of aging are unavoidable? Well, there are some lifestyle habits that you can incorporate that will lessen the aging process. One of the most important things to do is to preserve your muscle mass. Sarcopenia is the muscle loss with aging. We lose about a quarter pound of muscle every year starting in our 30s or 40s. Muscle keeps us strong, healthy, and able to do things independently. In a study by Ben Hurley at the University of Maryland, it was shown that elderly individuals who did strength-training exercises were able to do simple tasks such as getting up from a chair, sitting down again, and walking and sitting faster. So it is important to do what you can to slow down muscle loss.
One of the things you can do to preserve muscle mass is to do weight training or resistance training. (Check with your physician before starting!) Some people use machines, free weights, or resistance bands. Whatever works for you, two to three times per week is best. Another benefit of resistance training is increasing bone density. Studies have been done in postmenopausal women that show improvement in bone density in women who did resistance training compared to controls.
In addition to strength training, it is important to also eat enough and the right kind of protein. Some researchers recommend starting in middle age to incorporate protein at all three meals of the day, 20-30 grams per meal. The protein should be high quality and come from poultry, fish, meat, or eggs. The timing of the protein in regards to the workout is important also. Research shows that immediately or soon after a work out it is the best to consume the protein and promote muscle building.
Start now and do what you can to help yourself live to a healthy older age! Use your muscles, eat right, and get enough sleep. Although we can’t stop the clock, we can enter our later years with a higher quality of life!