Research shows that the amount of muscle on your frame is a leading indicator of health and longevity. The problem is, muscle is so easy to lose, especially as we age. You have to really work hard to maintain and build muscle mass.
The primary problem with age-related muscle degeneration is that doctors don’t prescribe anything for it because, other than recommending resistance training, there is no pharmaceutical treatment to reverse muscle loss. This age-related muscle degeneration, or sarcopenia, is a health issue most everyone will face because, beginning as early as age 40, the body’s ability to process protein dramatically slows down. After the age of 60, muscle mass declines at an annual rate of 1.5% to 3% per year.
Keeping your muscles healthy as you age not only keeps you healthier, but can also benefit your bones, help stabilize blood sugar, improve your endurance and allow you to enjoy a better quality of life. What’s more worrisome is that 50% of adults aged 80 and above already have sarcopenia and the current diagnosis rate of sarcopenia may not even reflect reality as a large number of people ignore the symptoms of muscle loss.
The good news is that there are more ways to reverse muscle loss and actively maintain the muscle you have now even if you have made the rite of passage to age 50 as I have recently done. Let me share with you seven successful ways you can improve your overall muscle health:
- Cut Down Cardio: Working out seven days a week can cause muscle loss, as there are no rest days for regeneration. Cardio can also cancel out muscle gains if you exercise too long or on an empty stomach. Overdoing it doesn’t allow time for muscle recovery and regeneration, which is crucial for maintaining muscle mass. Resistance exercises will give you the greatest benefit for your muscles by boosting muscle protein synthesis, the process by which your body builds new muscle.
- Stretch More: Not only does stretching before and after a workout help speed up recovery and increase muscle range of motion, but it also makes room for muscle fibers to grow.
- Stop Skipping Meals: Sporadic eating is almost as bad as not eating at all. Throwing your body into starvation mode just trains it to store a large percentage of fat, in the event that you skip another meal. It’s crucial to provide the nutrients your body needs in order to repair muscle and grow more of it.
- Switch It Up: To encourage new muscle growth you have to switch up your workout routine and also the amount of weights you use. The muscles want to be challenged, or they will become stagnant.
- Replenish After Workouts: Eating after workouts will start the recovery process immediately, replenishing lost glycogen (your muscles’ energy stores) and providing the nutrients your body needs in order to repair muscle and grow more of it. Since muscles are made from protein, it is important to ensure your body has adequate amounts of this key dietary nutrient.
- Hit The Snooze Button: Our body is in a state of repairing and rebuilding when we sleep. If you are getting less than 6 hours of sleep a day, then you are limiting your body’s ability to naturally produce crucial muscle-building chemicals like growth hormone.
- Rejuvenate Muscle Health: Taking a patented blend of essential amino acids called Rejuvenate has been shown in studies from the Geriatric Center at Arkansas University Medical Center to increase the body’s muscle protein synthesis and ability to rebuild and repair muscle by 57% with noticeable muscle mass improvement within 30 days. Rejuvenate has been in development for the past 17 years, and now has 25 peer reviewed published studies to demonstrate its efficacy. It can be mixed in your favorite beverage and only contains 5 calories per serving in addition to being low in fat and sugar, dairy and gluten free. Rejuvenate is available to retailers throughout the United States and Canada.
As you age, it becomes a downward spiral once you lose your independence due to injury and muscle loss. In order to fix the frailty issue, we have to start looking more closely at how the body rebuilds and repairs muscle. Resistance training alone is not working. Nutrition holds valuable strengthening secrets we can tap into now for improved muscle health.
Note: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and editors of WholeFoods Magazine.