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Women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s holding one-point weights over their heads

How to Keep Your Muscles Strong As You Age

How To Keep Muscles Strong As You Age

As you age, the muscles in your body age with you. Even if you have stayed in shape throughout your entire life, it is very likely that your muscles will weaken over time. In fact, most people begin to experience muscle loss in their early- to mid-40s. Known as sarcopenia, this gradual loss of muscle continues as we become seniors, often with dangerous and detrimental results. Luckily, there are a number of things that you can do to keep your muscles strong and healthy as you age. Read below to learn more. 

Perform Strength Exercises

According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), more than 80% of adults aged 65 and older are not active enough. This is a serious concern, as the old saying “use it or lose it” applies strongly to muscle. While cardiovascular exercise is certainly important, it’s also essential to incorporate strength training and weight-bearing exercises into your daily routine. Try to start doing this as early in life as possible, and continue it as you get older, even if you find that you need to scale back in intensity at some point. Increasing basic daily activities such as walking, working around the home and yard, or playing fetch with a dog can all help you to retain your essential muscle tissues. Investing time and energy in a regular exercise regimen also has additional benefits, such as preventing heart disease. If you are just beginning exercise of any kind, make sure to consult with your doctor before launching yourself into any high-intensity activities. Suddenly starting an intense workout routine can actually cause injury and muscle damage instead of improving your overall strength and agility. You may want to start out with some low-impact fitness activities such as yoga, cycling, or swimming.

Eat More Protein, Calcium, and Vitamin D

Maintaining a healthy diet is even more important as you age and lose muscle mass. Protein, particularly lean protein, is something that older people need more of, not less, despite often decreasing appetites. Currently, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is .36 grams per pound of body weight. For older adults, it is believed that the total protein intake should be closer to 0.45 to 0.68 grams per pound of body weight. Try to spread your protein intake evenly over three or more meals a day, aiming for at least 12 ounces daily. Another important mineral for bone and muscle health is calcium. While the Recommended Dietary Allowance for calcium is 1,000 mg per day for younger adults, adults aged 65 and older should ingest over 1,200 mg a day. Good sources of calcium include milk, cheese, canned fish with bones, and soy products. It is also important that you try to incorporate Vitamin D into your diet. Some of the best food sources for Vitamin D include fortified milk, cheese, salmon, tuna, mackerel, liver, and egg yolks. You may also want to talk with your doctor about taking a Vitamin D and/or calcium supplement.

Avoid Injury

As you get older, common injuries and conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, knee arthritis, varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis, and stress fractures become much more likely – and potentially much more serious. You can prevent injuries by making sure to always wearing the right footwear and equipment when you exercise. When you perform any activity that places significant stress on your joints and muscle tissues, make sure to use a compression sleeve on any at-risk area. Compression sleeves are able to reduce the possibility of injury by providing warmth and support to the joints and muscle fibers.

Treat Illness and Injuries Quickly

Despite every precaution you might take, injuries do happen. When they do, be sure to address them as promptly as possible. Make sure that you receive proper treatment and care as you recover from injury, as this will help prevent further pain and discomfort in the future. OrthoSleeve offers a number of compression products to aid those who are recovering from injuries or who are concerned about preventing them.