Age-related muscle loss, also known as sarcopenia, is a common part of aging, but there are ways to limit it. According to Harvard Health Publishing, after age 30, you lose as much as 3% to 5% of your muscle mass per decade. It’s important to start developing healthy habits as early as possible to limit your loss of muscle mass.
Here are five ways to maintain muscle mass as you age:
- Eat protein. The body breaks down protein-rich foods into amino acids, which it uses to build muscle. Protein sources such as chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, red meat, yogurt and beans are good sources of protein to build muscle.
- Resistance train. A consistent strength training routine builds muscle mass. Aim for two to three 30-minute sessions per week. (Always consult with a physician first.) Local community classes or working with a personal trainer are great ways to get started.
- Increase Your Omega-3s. Omega-3s, found in salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds, are anti-inflammatory and can easily be added to your diet. Inflammation causes muscles to break down, so by consuming anti-inflammatory omega-3s, you can improve the rate of muscle protein synthesis.
- Check your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D helps with muscle protein synthesis, which helps build muscle strength. Sun exposure is a source of vitamin D, but it takes four times as long for people over age 60 to receive vitamin D through sun exposure. A vitamin D supplement can be used, but always consult with your physician before starting a new supplement.
- Walk. Walking increases your mobility and enhances blood flow. Aerobic exercise is beneficial to your body’s response to insulin, which helps with muscle repair. Taking 10-minute walking breaks throughout the day can help you maintain muscle mass.
To learn more about healthy habits, visit www.landmarkhealth.org.