4 Ways for Seniors to Preserve Muscle
For seniors, it can seem like the loss of muscle mass is just an unavoidable fact of life.
However, Harvard Health Publishing states that while losing muscle is a natural part of aging, it
is possible for seniors to preserve and even increase muscle mass with exercise and nutrition,
and doing so can help protect against falls and fractures. This can lead to a longer, healthier life.
Here’s how to build your strength in your golden years.
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You do not have to stop strength training as you get older. While you may want to check in with
your doctor about how much you should lift or which bodyweight exercises would be safest for
you, strength training in some form should be a regular part of your workout regimen. You may
be interested in joining a gym so that you can work with a personal trainer to learn the ropes, or
you might want to invest in fitness equipment from your local sporting goods store so that you
can work out at home on your own time.
Lifting weights isn’t the only way to preserve muscle mass! You can also incorporate gentle
cardio into your exercise routine. For instance, taking long walks can be very beneficial.
InHomeCare states that going on daily brisk walks can help you build muscle and strengthen
your bones. In addition, this habit can boost your immune system and provide other health
benefits, such as lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Lace up your sneakers and
call up a friend if you’re looking for a walking companion. You can also try other forms of cardio.
For example, you could swim laps at your local pool, go for a “run” on the treadmill, or use an
exercise bike or elliptical.
Whichever form of exercise you choose, you can complement your routine with fitness apps.
These apps can keep you motivated and monitor your progress. If you plan to use your
smartphone for working out, you’ll want to invest in a screen protector and an armband that can
secure your phone.
If your goal is building muscle, eating enough protein is key. Even regular exercise won’t make
a significant difference in your muscle mass if you aren’t eating enough protein. One of the
easiest ways to make sure you’re getting plenty of protein is to drink a protein shake after your
workouts. But how much protein do you actually need? If you work out several times per week,
you’ll want to aim for 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. If you only exercise
about once or twice per week, you may not need quite as much protein, and you could probably
try to consume 0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight instead.
Pushing yourself too hard during workouts and neglecting recovery time can do more harm than
good. Before, during, and after you work out, it’s important to drink plenty of water. Once you’re
finished working out, make sure that you have the opportunity to cool down, stretch, and spend
some time simply relaxing. You want to give your body the chance to rest — plenty of recovery
time is essential for building muscle!
Many seniors will experience a certain amount of muscle loss as the years go on. But with a
nutritious diet and effective fitness routine, seniors can counteract this process. You can live a
healthy lifestyle and maintain your strength at any age!
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