There is a name for age-related muscle loss. It is a condition called Sarcopenia.
As with bone loss, muscle loss can begin after ages 30 – 40. Most adults achieve peak muscle mass during their late 30s.
There are two main ways to prevent or treat Sarcopenia. Exercise and staying active is one way. Diet and nutrition is the second way. We need to be mindful of both.
The diet part includes plenty of protein and vitamin D. We will concentrate on the staying active way.
Types Of Activities To Help Prevent Muscle Loss
There are two types of activities that can help older adults prevent muscle loss.
One is aerobic activity and the second is resistance activity. As we age we need both for the best prevention of muscle loss.
1) Aerobic Activity
Aerobic activity helps our bodies in many ways. We need to work at completing 30 minutes of aerobic activity on most days.
Aerobic activity for seniors can include:
d. Walking briskly
If you have not been active, start with 5-10 minutes at a time.
Aerobic activity of itself does not prevent muscle loss. It will increase our energy levels. This gives us the needed energy to take part in resistance activities.
2) Resistance Activity
Resistance activities can strengthen and help maintain our muscles.
If your choice is going to a gym, you can use weight machines or free weights.
If a gym is not your thing, there are plenty of other options. Activities that use your own body weight are a good option.
Resistance activities for retirees can include:
d. Hip lifts
e. Resistance bands
Yoga is a good choice as it will also improve flexibility.
Resistance activities and exercises can be accomplished with common household items also. Items like cans of soup or juice jugs filled with sand. These activities do not have to be expensive. And for dual duty, you can add the household items to your aerobic workout!
Yes, staying active as you age will help prevent muscle loss, or Sarcopenia.
Staying active may mean finding and learning new activities.
You may have to find a group or place that offers some help in learning resistance activities. For help check with the YMCA, YWCA, local health clubs, senior centers, or even the local hospital.
As aging adults, we can spend a lot of our time engaged in sedentary activities. Being sedentary causes our muscles to break down. A loss of muscle can lead to injury. Injuries need time to heal which leads to more sedentary activities.
So let’s stay, or become, active. Let’s incorporate some resistance exercise and activities into our lives. Let’s prevent muscle loss!
Now that our muscles are strong, are there other health benefits to staying active? Next time we will see if staying active when we retire can help ward off illness.