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The Best Daily Habits To Maintain Your Muscle Mass After 50, Trainer Says

Preserve your muscle mass with these diet and fitness tips.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

As you get into your 50s and beyond, building and maintaining muscle becomes more important than ever before. The reason is, you begin to lose muscle as you age if you don't do anything to maintain it. Muscle mass is the fountain of youth, keeps you fit and healthy, and prevents diseases and metabolic disorders, research shows. Suffice it to say, if you haven't been performing any resistance or strength training, then it is time to start pronto. Don't stress, because we've come up with five daily habits to maintain muscle mass after 50, from diet to exercise, since they go hand-in-hand.

Although it's never too late to start building muscle and preserving it, it's always a great idea to check in with a healthcare professional before starting an aggressive workout plan. If you have and are ready to maintain muscle mass after 50, here are some effective habits you can include in your routine each day. Keep reading to learn more, and next, don't miss 5 Daily Exercises To Improve Muscular Endurance as You Age.

Strength train daily.

mature man in snow doing bodyweight exercises and uses resistance band

If your goal is to maintain your muscle mass, then you need to force your body to keep it. This means lifting weights or performing resistance training, where your muscles are stimulated in some way. The Department of Health and Human Services suggests strength training your major muscle groups twice a week to boost your muscular fitness (via the Mayo Clinic).

If you don't have access to weights, no worries. You can use resistance bands or even bodyweight movements such as squats, pushups, and lunges. The important thing here is consistency!

Perform physical tasks.

mature woman holding groceries demonstrating habits to maintain muscle mass after 50

Outside of your workouts, it's crucial to be as physically active as possible. This will keep your muscles engaged, and your basal metabolic rate (BMR) high. (BMR is how many calories you torch when your body completes basic functions.)

Needless to say, whether it's performing yard work, chores around the home, or carrying your grocery bags back home, be creative and get moving. The key point is to move around whenever and wherever possible.

5 Telltale Signs You're in Good Shape at 50, Expert Says

Perform relaxation techniques, and get enough sleep.

mature couple sleeping peacefully, demonstrating habits to maintain muscle mass after 50

Although you do want to stay physically active to keep your muscles stimulated, it's just as important to relax and get your body to calm down, which will keep your cortisol levels low. Be sure to get enough sleep, since you build muscle during your rest phase. What's enough sleep? The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society suggest getting a minimum of seven hours of Z's every night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Eat enough protein.

high-protein foods

In addition to resistance training, the American College of Sports Medicine explains that working just the right amount and kind of protein into your diet is imperative if you want to build and preserve your muscle.

I recommend most of my clients eat at least one gram per pound of lean body mass. And when it comes to protein choices, choose lean options. This means chicken, turkey, lean cuts of red meat, eggs, low and non-fat dairy, and protein powders. Make sure each of your meals has at least one serving size of protein.

Continue eating carbs.

baked potatoes with rosemary

People are fearful of carbohydrates—especially if they are looking to lose fat. However, you don't want to be carbophobic. Carbs actually help fuel your workouts and can even help you build muscle. Make sure that you're still eating them, and from healthy sources. Choose them wisely, which means rice, beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and fruit.

Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles Read more about Tim
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