As we get older, our bodies naturally begin to lose muscle mass and strength. This process, known as sarcopenia, can start as early as our 30s and becomes more pronounced as we age. While it may seem inevitable, maintaining muscle mass as we age is important for a number of reasons.
Maintaining muscle mass can help prevent falls and injuries
As we lose muscle mass and strength, our balance and stability can be compromised, making us more prone to falls and injuries. By maintaining muscle mass, we can improve our balance and reduce our risk of falls and injuries.
Maintaining muscle mass can help with weight management
Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, meaning it burns more calories even at rest. By maintaining muscle mass, we can help our bodies burn more calories and maintain a healthy weight.
Maintaining muscle mass can improve cardiovascular health
Muscles play a crucial role in our cardiovascular system, pumping blood throughout the body. By maintaining muscle mass, we can improve our cardiovascular health and reduce our risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions.
Maintaining muscle mass can improve mental health
Exercise, including strength training to maintain muscle mass, has been shown to improve mental health and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.
There are a few ways to maintain muscle mass as we age:
- Engage in strength training exercises. Strength training exercises, such as lifting weights or using resistance bands, can help build and maintain muscle mass. Aim to do these exercises at least twice a week.
- Include protein in your diet. Protein is essential for building and repairing muscles. Make sure to include sources of protein, such as meat, poultry, fish, beans, and dairy, in your diet.
- Stay active. Engaging in regular physical activity, such as walking, cycling, or swimming, can help maintain muscle mass and overall health.
Maintaining muscle mass as we age is important for our physical and mental health. By engaging in strength training exercises, including protein in our diet, and staying active, we can help prevent the natural decline in muscle mass and maintain our strength and health as we age.