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5 Daily Habits to Speed Up Muscle Growth as You Age

It is possible to preserve and increase your supply of lean muscle—even as you grow older.

Losing muscle mass is a natural process as you age. But that doesn't necessarily mean this decline is something you have to endure, Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM, a member of our Medical Expert Board and a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach who has helped develop the Body Program at Ro, tells Eat This, Not That! It is possible to preserve and actually increase your supply of lean muscle—even as you head into older age. Dr. Bohl provides us with five daily habits that help you build muscle, so gear up for these diet, fitness, and overall health tips.

"Eating a diet that's high in protein is a great way to maintain and build muscle. Strength training is also necessary for adding muscle mass. And third, it's important to regularly check in with your doctor and make sure you're treating any chronic conditions and addressing any nutritional deficiencies you may have," Dr. Bohl explains. "While these are the three major things to keep in mind while trying to grow muscle as you age, there are a few specific habits to focus on each day."

Read on to learn about Dr. Bohl's top-recommended habits to build muscle as you age. And next, don't miss 5 Exercise Habits That Are Destroying Your Body After 50.

If you want to build muscle, have some protein every few hours.

cutting board with different protein foods on it in the kitchen

Getting your fill of protein is crucial if you want to build muscle, Medical News Today explains. You may be surprised to hear that protein is in every single tissue and cell in your body. It's in charge of many important tasks, most especially being a key player in muscle growth, as it aids in restoring and preserving muscle tissue.

Dr. Bohl recommends consuming about 20 grams of protein every three hours. "This will help stimulate muscle protein synthesis throughout the day," he says.

Eat a snack with casein protein before heading to sleep.

casein protein shake with powder next to it

If you're unfamiliar with casein protein, it's time to get familiar. According to Muscle & Fitness, casein is a protein that takes a longer time to digest. This "slow-releasing protein" is incredibly beneficial when it comes to repairing your muscles as you catch some Z's. It also helps with muscle re-growth.

Before heading to sleep, Dr. Bohl suggests enjoying a snack with casein protein in it. He confirms, "This will help continue stimulating muscle protein synthesis while you sleep."

Make progressive strength training your main focus at the gym.

mature man lifting heavy dumbbell, exercise habits to slow muscle aging

In order to make the most of your gym time, focusing on progressive strength training is the name of the game. "This is when you gradually increase the amount of weight you're using each time, which helps your muscles get bigger over time," Dr. Bohl notes.

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Bump up your physical activity.

fit senior man taking stairs, habits to slow down muscle aging

Boosting your overall physical activity outside of the gym is always a smart idea—especially if you want to build muscle and stay in great shape as you age. This could be opting for the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator, parking further away from your errands to get in more steps, tossing the ball around with your dog outdoors, and setting movement reminders every 30 to 60 minutes if you spend a good part of your day being sedentary.

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Establish a chore schedule.

mature woman cleaning her windows at home, house chores

Last but not least, don't underestimate the power of a chore schedule. Sure, chores may get a bad rap for being pretty "boring," but they're a great opportunity to up your fitness game.

Dr. Bohl suggests, "Make a chore schedule and do at least one indoor or outdoor chore each day. Even though chores aren't the most exciting thing to think about, they can be a great way to get more exercise and challenge your muscles. For example, taking out the trash or gardening works your muscles, legs, and core."

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa