Your aging muscles need to talk to you, but not about what you think…
We all know that we lose muscle mass as we get older. Not only can we tell when we look in the mirror, but we can feel it.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t carry as many grocery bags up the stairs as I used to these days…But there are ways to counteract that.
In the past, medical folks have used age to determine risk for certain diseases, often characterizing those of an “older age” as having the greatest risks.
But new research is showing that biological age is not, by itself, the key to determining their overall health.
Studies suggest that we look at other causes (like mobility), for a more thorough evaluation of a person’s well-being.
In other words, getting older doesn’t have to mean getting weaker. And your muscles and muscle tone have a lot to do with how well you age, so it’s a good place to start.
Here are six things your aging muscles want you to know…
1. Have you lost your energy? It may be in your muscles.
➡ You may start noticing muscle loss, or some of its side effects, at around age 40. At this age, you can start to lose 8 % of your muscle mass per decade, roughly 25% by the time you turn 70.
But only if you let it…
➡ Muscle loss can affect your strength and energy levels.
According to a new survey by AARP, one out of two of you over the age of 50, who knows something about your aging muscles, are concerned about what will happen.
2. It’s not just about your biceps.
Muscles are there to support your body’s movement, balance, and posture. That’s why when we lose too much muscle, falls and/or fractures are more prevalent.
Muscles also play a role in:
➡ Your metabolism
➡ Your facial structure
➡ How your body consumes and uses oxygen when you’re exercising.
3. Investing in your aging muscles now can help when times get tough.
If you or someone you know has ever been sick or in the hospital for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed how things like lack of activity, poor nutrition or even the disease or condition itself, can affect muscle tone.
➡ It’s much harder to fight off and recover from illness (even something as simple as the common cold) If your muscles are broken down and weaker.
That’s why the health of your aging muscles counts.
Think of it like a piggy bank…you have to build up a reserve consistently so that you can rely on it when you need it.
Fortunately, in addition to exercise, there’s a proven way to keep your “muscle health piggy bank” full…It’s called Proper Nutrition.
4. Your aging muscles want you to memorize this:
“Diet is directly linked to your muscle health.”
We tend to think that we’re safe from malnutrition, but that’s because we associate it with all those pictures of starving children we’ve seen over the years. That’s a very sad issue.
However, malnutrition simply means not getting the nutrients we need. And it plays a huge part in the health of our muscles. It can affect anyone at any time..but it’s more prevalent in older adults. In fact:
➡ One out of two seniors are at risk for malnutrition or are malnourished when they are admitted to the hospital, and many are unaware of it.
➡ If you’re not getting the right nutrients, your body may rely on proteins found in your muscles. So it’s important to fuel your body with the right nutrients to help reverse this process.
5. Eat to build back up
Getting older, being injured and illness can all contribute to muscle loss. However, there are ways to stay healthy and strong.
Nutrition is the key:
➡ Protein-rich foods such as beans, nuts, meat, eggs, and cheese can help rebuild your muscles.
In the same AARP survey, less than 20% of those surveyed knew how much protein they even needed.
To put it into perspective, a 150-pound healthy adult needs about 53 grams of protein a day.
➡ But research has recommended that older adults take almost two times this amount to help keep their muscle mass.
Other muscle-preserving nutritional ingredients include certain amino acids which play a key role in your muscle health. Some of them work with protein to help maintain and protect muscles. And, your body naturally produces them, but only when you eat protein-rich foods.
Unfortunately, the natural levels of these amino acids decrease as we age, making nutrition even more important.
Just as you need oxygen to breathe, you need to nourish your muscles to stay strong and healthy, especially if you face an illness. And this goes for any age, not just seniors.
➡ The right kind of nutrition can help you live longer and recover faster from the everyday illnesses that affect us.
➡ Nutrition, along with exercise, needs to be at the top of your “to do” list as you age to stay healthy and strong.