There many situations that cause muscles to lose mass such as, medical conditions that prevent much movement and too much ‘sitting down on the job’ (literally). In addition, as we age, our muscles lose mass. Opinions differ but some researchers say this condition, named ‘sarcopenia’, begins as early as age 30, causing most of us to lose about 1% of muscle each year.
- A decrease in the concentrations of some hormones
- A decrease in the body’s ability to utilize protein
- Lack of exercise
- Not enough protein in the diet
What can you do about it?
Fortunately, there are two lifestyle habits you can practice in order to keep your muscle mass where it should be for as long as possible.
Habit #1: Each meal should include a high quality protein.
The current RDA recommendation for protein is approximately 10 grams for every 25 pounds of body weight. If you are over 50 you may want to double those recommendations as your body is less efficient at utilizing protein. Increasing your intake to about 19 – 20 grams for every 25 pounds of weight is beneficial in counteracting the age-related decline in muscle mass.
When choosing your protein, pick healthy sources, ﬁsh, grass fed/finished lean meats and vegetables — yes, vegetables — are all good sources of protein.
Habit #2: Exercise should be part of your regular routine. Specifically resistance training or weight training.
There are many benefits to strength training besides building muscle mass and reducing bone loss. Strength training also reduces fat and increases flexibility. Studies also show that resistance training is better than aerobic for insulin resistance. In addition, you feel good and look great.
Before starting any exercise program consult your physician.