When we reach our silver years, our bodies start to change, and so do our lifestyle requirements. Unfortunately, there are many conditions you may encounter now that you are a senior, ranging from arthritis and osteoporosis to brain-degenerative conditions, all the way to sarcopenia, which we will focus on right now. Naturally, this is the chapter of your life when you want to take health and fitness quite seriously, because being active on a regular basis and eating healthy can significantly improve your quality of life in every sense of the phrase.
But when it comes to sarcopenia, which is the loss of skeletal muscle mass due to aging, adhering to a healthy and active lifestyle will be imperative. From healthy eating to vigorous resistance training, all the way to proper supplementation and daily cardio activities, there are many ways you can fight this condition and elevate your long-term well-being. Here is what you should introduce into your schedule.
Hit the gym
Given the fact that sarcopenia is a muscle-degenerative condition, the best and most powerful way to fight it and reverse its effects is to build lean muscle mass. You can only achieve this with resistance training, so if you’ve never been to a commercial gym before, now’s the time to apply for a lifetime membership. Weight training is the only way to build muscle efficiently as a senior, but more importantly, the gym is a controlled environment that will allow you to stay injury-free.
Now, it’s important that you ease your way into resistance training, and make sure to hire an experience personal trainer who has worked with seniors in the past. Be sure to stimulate all muscle groups during training, including your shoulders and arms, your back and chest, your abs and core, and of course, your legs in order to promote total-body development. Over time, you will want to increase the intensity of your workouts to keep the muscle-building process going.
Tidy up your nutrition
Even though resistance training should be the focus of your new lifestyle routine, don’t forget that lean muscle is built in the kitchen. During exercise, you are breaking down the muscle tissue in order to kick-start the recovery process, which will make your muscles grow larger and stronger over time. Without the right nutrients, though, your body will not have the necessary building blocks to create new muscle tissue. This is why your next order of business should be to tidy up your nutrition, and focus more on the muscle-building foods.
While it is important to get healthy fats and carbohydrates into your diet, your main focus should be to eat quality protein on a daily basis to support your healthy lifestyle. Some of the best protein sources include lean meats, dairy products and eggs, fish, as well as various nuts, seeds, and legumes. Include a variety of these sources into your daily meal plan to get your daily dose of protein.
Add supplements to your routine
For seniors, supplementation can be just as important as proper exercise and nutrition, especially if you’re unable to find the energy to push through your workouts. This is where supplementation can come in handy, as you want to maximize your time in the gym and get the biggest bang for your buck.
For example, using a reliable teacrine supplement instead of pure caffeine is a better option if you’re looking for a way to energize your body and your mind, but without the negative side effects of caffeine consumption, or without developing a tolerance over time. Combined with protein supplements and your daily dose of vitamins and minerals, and you will be able to fuel your body in fight against sarcopenia.
Don’t avoid cardio training
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Cardiovascular exercise might not be directly related to the muscle-building process, but it is nonetheless imperative for seniors to introduce aerobic training into their weekly routine, in order to promote total-body recovery and maintain their desired weight. This shouldn’t be anything too strenuous, as you can simply head out for a morning walk or a jog if you feel like it. That said, always remember that sexual activity is one of the healthiest forms of cardio-based training for seniors, so be sure to connect with your partner regularly during the week.
In the end, the most important thing you need to remember is that you have to maintain consistency in training and nutrition if you are to beat sarcopenia over the long term. Fitness is a lifelong journey, so make sure that you’re not skipping your workouts, and that you are getting plenty of protein in every day to preserve your muscle mass, and add functional muscle to your frame that will allow you to become stronger and healthier.
Sarcopenia is an age-related condition that affects all people over 50, and unfortunately, the only long-term solution is to put time and effort into diet and exercise – there is no prescription medication you can take. With these tips in mind, though, you have a strong battle plan and a clear set of guidelines you need to battle and overcome sarcopenia for good.
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This article is intended for informational purposes only. If you have any questions or are considering any recommendations, please consult your health practitioner.