Muscle loss is common in seniors as they age. If you don’t exercise regularly, it’s common at the age of 30 to start losing 3-5% of muscle mass each decade and from age 65 the process speeds up even more.
Muscle loss might be a normal part of aging, but there are precautions that you can take to slow the process down or even avoid it altogether.
What Are The 5 Tips to Avoid Muscle Loss?
These tips provided by experts can help avoid age-related muscle loss:
1. Increase Protein Intake
- Diet is a big factor in avoiding age-related muscle loss.
- Most seniors fall short in meeting their protein needs in a day.
- Protein is important in building and maintaining muscle mass, so not getting enough of it can be a real detriment.
- Around 30-35% of your calorie intake should be made up of dietary protein.
Seniors should get 2-3 servings of high-quality protein such as animal meat or eggs a day, as well as a good source of calcium from either milk or yogurt
Protein is responsible for the repair and regrowth of muscle tissue, so getting a good source of protein at every meal is important to preserve the muscle we have.
2. Train With Weights
- Good exercises to do are key compound lifts that seniors can become stronger at.
- If you’re new to weight lifting, you must proceed with caution to avoid hurting yourself.
It’s recommended that seniors follow a weight-lifting program three to four times a week. Talk to your doctor before embarking on a new workout regimen, and consider working with a fitness professional to help you develop a program that helps you gain strength without putting you at risk for injury.
3. Take A Walk
- Regular walks can help seniors work their muscles on a regular basis
- Walking around the neighborhood is a convenient and free form of exercise.
Walking more and more each day can help apply positive stress to the systems in your body, including the bones, muscles, and cardiovascular system. Adding daily walks to a senior’s routine can help keep their muscles active and slow down atrophy, which can happen with a sedentary lifestyle.
4. Get Crafty
Learning a new skill can harness the power of neuroplasticity, which can fight off age-related memory loss. The motor skills used in the process help keep the muscles active and avoid atrophy. Seniors can keep their muscles working by creating things, such as knitting a sweater and painting a work of art.
5. Easy Functional Movements
- Squatting to pick up items from the floor or low shelving can help maintain hip strength.
- Carrying grocery bags and lightly packed bags can be very helpful in maintaining muscle strength.
Doing something as simple as sitting up and down from a chair fives times at each mealtime can improve strength and endurance. Since getting up and down from a chair is something you’ll need to do every day for the rest of your life, turning it into a mini-workout gives you a chance to work the muscles you need to continue doing this basic but important activity as you age.
Benefits of Making a Change
There are some aspects of aging and health we have limited control over, but muscle loss isn’t one of them. You can take steps to keep your muscles active and working to reduce the amount of muscle loss you experience.
Keeping muscles strong makes a big difference in the ability to complete common tasks of daily life, such as getting up and down from seats, moving throughout the home, and picking up objects.
The sooner these habits are adapted into your lifestyle, the more you’ll ward off the inconveniences of age-related muscle loss and make day-to-day activities easier as you age.
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