Maintaining muscle mass and strength is important for overall health and well-being at every stage of life. When we’re young it’s much easier, for the body is in a natural growth phase, building bones and muscle tissue on a regular basis. Once we become adults and have fully developed physically, these natural growth phases cease and maintaining muscle tissue requires some level of effort.
So why is it so important to take steps to maintain our muscle tissue throughout our lives?
Some of the benefits of maintaining muscle tissue include:
Improved mobility: Strong muscles help to support your bones and joints, enabling you to move more easily and independently.
Increased strength and endurance: Muscles enable us to perform everyday tasks and physical activities, such as carrying groceries, going up stairs or playing sports. Maintaining muscle mass supports our strength and endurance as we age.
Better balance and stability: Maintaining strong leg and abdominal muscles help to improve balance and stability, reducing the risk of falls.
Weight management: Building muscle mass raises your metabolic rate, which is the amount of calories/energy you burn daily even at rest. As a result, maintaining muscle mass throughout your life can support healthy weight management and prevent weight gain.
Improved mental health: Exercise, including activities that maintain muscle mass, has been shown to improve mood and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.
Reduced risk of chronic diseases: Maintaining muscle mass can help to reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.
Enhanced quality of life: Maintaining muscle mass and strength can help you stay active and independent as you age, leading to a higher quality of life.
The age at which muscle loss begins to occur naturally varies from person to person. However this may be surprising to hear but, sarcopenia - age related muscle loss, tends to begin around age 30-35. This age related muscle decline tends to continue at a rate of 1-2 % a year for the average person. This rate of decline increases significantly after the age of 60.
Sarcopenia can lead to decreased mobility, impaired physical function, and an increased risk of falls and fractures. It can also increase the risk of developing other health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Although some level of sarcopenia is considered a normal part of the aging process, there are many risk factors associated with sarcopenia which include a sedentary lifestyle, malnutrition, inadequate protein intake, reduced hormone levels, obesity and certain medical conditions. Research also shows that another risk factor of sarcopenia is a reduction in the nerve cells that send signals from your brain to tell your muscles to move.
Despite the fact that sarcopenia is a natural aspect to aging, there are several natural ways to help prevent sarcopenia.
Here are some natural ways to help prevent sarcopenia:
Exercise regularly: Engaging in regular physical activity, particularly activities that involve resistance training, are very effective for maintaining muscle mass and strength. It’s key to follow a regular routine that you can commit to; whether that be working out at home, in a gym or with an experienced strength training professional, who can customize a regimen for you.
Eat a protein-rich diet: Make sure you're consuming adequate protein regularly. Protein is essential for muscle repair, recovery and maintenance. Quality sources of protein include grass-fed beef, organic poultry, wild caught seafood, organic tofu, beans and legumes. Our protein needs differ depending on our age and activity level. Current research regarding nutrition and protein recommendations suggest consuming between 1.2-1.6 g/kg body weight of high-quality protein is a more ideal target for achieving optimal health outcomes in adults than the RDA recommendation of .8-1 g/kg per day of protein for adults.
Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is important for muscle function. Make sure you’re consuming enough low sugar fluids throughout the day - purified water, sparkling mineral water, fruit infused beverages, teas and kombucha are excellent sources of hydration.
Get enough sleep: Adequate sleep is important for overall health, including muscle recovery and maintenance. Most people function best on 7-9 hours of sleep per night, but quality sleep is most important.
Consider supplements: If you're having trouble meeting your nutrient needs through diet alone, you may consider taking supplements, such as a high quality protein or meal replacement powder or creatine. However, it's always best to speak with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.
If you have any questions regarding muscle maintenance or optimal nutrition for your health and wellness needs, we’re here to assist. Feel free to contact us at anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org