Muscle mass begins to decline as early as age 30. This means that you could spend more years losing muscle mass than building it, depending on how long you live. Healthy muscles have numerous benefits for the body, including protection against arthritis, flexibility, reduction of joint pain, stronger bones, and more. Maintaining your muscle mass as you age can put off some of the other effects of aging and make you healthier overall.
Although muscle decline begins when you are still pretty young, there are plenty of methods for slowing or even reversing that trend as you get older.
The simplest way to build or maintain muscle mass is to engage in strength training for various parts of your body. This can take the form of weightlifting, resistance band use, equipment-based workouts, or exercises without equipment like push-ups and squats. Smaller weights and resistance bands are easy, cheap ways to work out different muscles in your arms and legs, while equipment can give you more versatile exercises to implement. Activities that do not require any equipment can be done anywhere and anytime, even during a short break at work to get the blood flowing and your muscles moving. Muscles have to be used to avoid losing mass, so make sure that you continue to work all of them as you get older.
Protein is the best nutrient for muscle growth and maintenance. Though there are multiple benefits to consuming more protein, it is a key ingredient for building muscle mass. Some good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, seafood, and dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese. Eating protein will not do very much for your muscles if done in isolation. But pairing a more protein-rich diet with strength training will boost the potential for more muscle mass and help slow down the rate of decay as you age.
Visit a chiropractor
Although chiropractors are often associated with the spine and the neck, these body parts are heavily influenced by their connections to your muscular structure. Misalignment among these systems can make your health decline faster, while treatment can set your body up well for long-term health, including retaining muscle mass. It is important to visit a chiropractor regularly, especially when getting older, to address alignment issues and back pain which can seriously limit your capacity to engage in strength training.
Other important nutrients
While protein is the building block of your muscles, other nutrients contribute to muscle health as well. Two of the most important ones are vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients are key to both building muscle and protecting against inflammation, which can drastically damage a muscle’s health. Both nutrients can be consumed as a supplement if the body is not receiving enough of them via time in the sun or your dietary habits. Make sure that your body has a healthy supply of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids to encourage muscle growth and retention.
Blood flow plays a huge role in the capabilities of muscles throughout your body. A healthy heart and blood vessels are better equipped for carrying oxygen and other nutrients to your various muscles. Therefore, engaging in regular aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging, or cycling will improve the body’s ability to maintain muscle health. There are many more health benefits to aerobic exercise, particularly as you age. It will improve the health of your heart and help you maintain independence. The more exercise you get, the less likely you will have to move into a facility like a nursing home, which comes with its own concerns.
Get the recommended amount of sleep
Sleep does have a massive effect on the body’s various systems, and muscle health is no exception. 7-8 hours of sleep every night will help with hormone levels and blood pressure, two things that affect your muscular structure. Plus, if you workout your muscles during the day, sleep helps them recover from the exertion. Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep.
Good muscle health promotes longevity
If you invest in building and maintaining your muscle mass, even past the point where it would typically start to decline, you will have a far better chance of a long and healthy life. Since many age-related diseases attack the muscular structures of the body, you can fight them off more effectively by continuing to work on your strength. The better your overall strength, the longer your body can withstand the effects of aging and maintain your independence. Get started today on building your muscle mass to achieve a higher standard of living tomorrow.