Simple Everyday Habits To Slow Down Muscle Aging, Expert Reveals
As you age, you have to deal with one simple fact: Your muscles age, too, and you start to lose muscle mass. Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do to completely stop this natural process. You can, however, be proactive in several ways. We chatted with Dr. Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM, the Director of Medical Content & Education at Ro and a certified personal trainer, who reveals the simple everyday habits to slow down muscle aging.
According to Dr. Bohl, the natural process of losing muscle mass is called sarcopenia. It's important to know that strengthening your muscles isn't just for appearance; it's to properly care for them. You've likely heard this tidbit before, but exercise is key in slowing down this frustrating part of aging. Dr. Bohl tells us weight lifting, or resistance training, is extremely beneficial. It's recommended that adults perform strength training exercises a minimum of two times each week, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Keeping up an active lifestyle will help you avoid being sedentary.
Another way to help build and maintain muscle mass is to include some healthy movement each day. Keeping up an active lifestyle by taking brisk walks, gardening, playing with your pup outside or bringing him on a hike, and taking on other active hobbies will help you avoid being sedentary. Every little bit helps, including parking further away from your destination when running errands to get in extra steps, and even opting for the stairs instead of an elevator whenever the opportunity presents itself. Heck—you can even walk on the treadmill or around your neighborhood while listening to music or an audiobook. It's really so easy to incorporate daily movement into your routine, and it's social!
The next of the simple everyday habits to slow down muscle aging has to do with maintaining a healthy diet. Lots of protein is essential. Dr. Bohl explains, "The general recommendation is to eat 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight each day." In addition, make sure you're taking supplements such as vitamin D and creatine in an effort to help with sarcopenia. Always stay hydrated, and keep up with your fruits and veggies, too! All of these steps will help your body age so much better.
Why is preserving and building your muscle mass so imperative as you age?
Maintaining the health of your muscles and avoiding sarcopenia is not just a matter of staying strong. Dr. Bohl points out that healthy muscles will help your body move freely so you can continue to lead an independent, productive life. He says, "Muscles are also important for balance and can help prevent falls, a common cause of injury in older adults. And muscles help stabilize the joints, which can be very beneficial for anyone suffering from arthritis. A side benefit of working out to maintain muscle mass is that working out also improves bone mineral density, which can protect against osteoporosis and fractures. Lastly, muscles are important for a properly functioning metabolism and glucose control, since muscles require energy to move and stay alive."