As we age, we start to lose muscle due to hormonal changes, along with a lack of protein and exercise. Because muscle helps stabilize bones, muscle loss can also start to cause joint problems especially in the hips and knees. And if you have certain medical conditions such as diabetes, heart and kidney disease, it can accelerate the loss of muscle.
It is important to do what you can to preserve muscle as diminished muscle mass can cause bad posture, breathing problems, lack of balance resulting in falls, and even mental conditions such as depression.
While many people consider losing muscle mass as just collateral damage of the aging process, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Hormonal Replacement Therapy
For example if the cause of muscle loss is due to low testosterone, hormonal replacement therapy can bring the level back up where it should be. A simple test at the doctor’s office can confirm if your level is low or not.
Eat More Protein
Because a lack of protein is a cause of muscle loss in older adults, ensure you are eating good lean sources of it each day, including chicken breasts, fish, egg whites and turkey. Strive to eat at least seven grams of protein per twenty pounds of body weight daily.
Stay away from heavy sauces, fried foods and many of the bakery products as they are loaded with saturated fat, sugar and sodium – all of which are not good for you.
And the last one, exercise, is more important now that it was when you were younger, yet many seniors don’t exercise at all.
Not only will it make your arthritic joints feel better by keeping them moving, it is important to preserve (and even build) muscle.
A mix of cardio and strength training is the best. Cardio can be as simple as going for a brisk walk every day. That will loosen up most of your large muscle groups. Then once the muscles are warmed up do some light strength training, such as weight lifting, to increase muscular strength. Start and end your workouts with some light stretching.
As you can see by keeping the proper testosterone level, eating adequate protein and exercising regularly, you can stall (or at least slow down) the aging process and resulting loss of muscle. By maintaining adequate muscle, you can also stave off bone and joint problems.