How to Prevent Muscle Loss

21 January, 2019

As you grow older, numerous changes take place in your body including your energy levels, memory, sex drive, to name a few. Most people are however unaware of another change that happens – loss of muscle mass and strength. This condition is known as Sarcopenia and commonly affects the older generation.

About 5-13% of people aged 60-70 and about 11-50% aged above 80 are affected by sarcopenia. This debilitating condition can affect mobility as well as recovery from other health conditions. Some experts are even terming sarcopenia as ‘the new osteoporosis’.

Not to be disheartened however as timely lifestyle changes can help in preventing this muscle loss and improve in muscle gain too. Here’s a look at how to prevent muscle loss:

Protein-rich Foods: One of the major reasons why older adults lose muscles is because they aren’t eating sufficient calories, minerals and proteins. Amino acids are the building blocks of muscles and are essential for maintaining as well as gaining muscles. Research has indicated that adults can lose up to 8% of their muscle mass every decade, after the age of 40 years. People who consumed double their RDA protein requirement (between 90-100g) were likely to do better in maintaining their muscles mass.

Gym: Hitting the gym is an essential way of keeping your muscles growing and healthy. Cardiovascular exercises, as well as weight lifting, activate muscle growth. Not to be discouraged, you don’t have to lift 20kg to be successful – start off with 2kg and see how far you can go.

You should do about 5 hours worth of moderate-endurance exercises per week aside from weight lifting. It might seem a bit daunting in the beginning, but start small and increase as your stamina grows.

Carbohydrates: Don’t cut down on your carbs as you will feel fatigued and lackluster and less inclined to exercise. If you don’t have the source of energy inside you, you won’t be able to lift weights or maintain your muscles.

And what’s more, studies have suggested that taking carbs and proteins before and after exercising helps in building muscle mass.
Sleep – Your beauty sleep is not only good for your skin but also required to help your muscles regenerate themselves. Treat yourself to 7-9 hours each night.

Vitamin D: Lack of Vitamin D can affect building muscles negatively. Have your levels checked and take a supplement if needed. Treat yourself to vitamin D-rich foods too.

Alcohol: Finally, limit your alcohol intake as it causes dehydration, affecting your muscle function.

Hopefully, these tips should help you on your journey to preserving your muscles!