The human body tend to lose both muscle mass and strength as age catches up. This occurence is known as sarcopenia, which may start to progress from the early 40s, depending on your diet and lifestyle. Therefore, it is very important to take steps in order to prevent muscle loss and preserve your life towards your golden years. On this week's journal, we will briefly explain what sarcopenia is, and what you can do to prevent it. Read on!
What causes loss of muscle mass?
Like bone density, muscle mass also decreases with age. This condition is called sarcopenia, which is a natural process that occurs in everyone over time. Sarcopenia has been linked to an increased risk of falls, loss of independence, physical disability, and depression. A lot of factors weigh in when it comes to muscle loss, from lifestyle, age, hormonal imbalances, to lack of vitamin D. Studies have shown that diet and lifestyle play a major role in both the onset and progression of muscle loss. When done on an earlier age, this can definitely accelerate muscle loss in younger generation. If you're working indoors most of the time, you might also want to consider getting exposed to sunlight, preferably every morning or whenever possible, in order to keep your body's ability to build muscle. Otherwise, you can get vitamin D through foods like salmon, beef, egg yolks, or consuming supplements.
What then should you do to prevent it?
1. Consume protein-rich foods
Without consuming enough protein, maintaining muscle mass and bone density becomes hard and your body will become weaker throughout the years. Research have shown that adults can lose up to 8 percent of muscle mass each decade after age 40, with one of the main reasons being not consuming enough protein and amino acids. Amino acids are being used by muscles to build itself, while protein maintains both muscle mass and bone density. Protein is best consumed throughout the day, research has shown.
Even though your activity level, gender, age, muscle-mass-to-fat ratio determines the precise amount of protein you need to eat on a daily basis, consuming 90 to 100 grams of protein per day is recommended in order to increase in muscle protein synthesis, the process by which your cells use protein to build more muscle.Meat, eggs, poultry, fish, and beans are all great protein sources. Dairy products are also a good source of protein, which requires minimal effort to serve and acts as a practical option for those who need to elevate their daily protein intake.
2. Consume enough carbohydrates
While consuming protein is important for muscle development and retention, studies have shown that eating a combination of protein and carbohydrates before and after a workout can also help build muscle. You need to consume carbohydrates regularly as it is the body's main energy source. Without glucose, your body will lack energy and you won't be able to exercise. However, be sure to opt for healthy carbohydrates from whole grains, potatoes, beans, fruits, and vegetables, instead of highly processed foods.
3. Do frequent exercises
Experts have stated that the best way to limit muscle loss and regain its strength is by staying physically active all through life. Cardiovascular exercise and weight training will improve overall health as well as muscle health because they consistently activate and signal the muscles to grow. However, if you’ve been sedentary, exercise can still solve your problem. Just remind yourself to go slow at first and build your strength step by step.
Incorporating an active lifestyle doesn't mean you have to exercise all day and throughout the week. If you ever don't feel like exercising, daily activities where you have to move your body, as simple as taking a flight of stairs at home or at work, can do wonders to your physical well-being. Leisure time can also be utilized for gardening, walking or biking around your neighborhood, which requires movement yet you're able to enjoy the time as well.