Many changes occur as we age, but none are as noticeable as the changes that happen to our bodies. Just like how our vision can get a little blurrier over time, it can also become a little more difficult to use our bodies the way we used to.
One of more noticeable types of changes occurs in our muscles. We use our muscles for practically every movement we make, but we can eventually lose muscle mass as we age, especially if we aren’t very active in our personal lives. When this happens, even simple movements can become tiresome, leading us to relying on other methods to complete seemingly mundane tasks.
But is it possible to regain this lost muscle?
Today, we’ll look at why our muscles are so important for living a comfortable life, the issues that can affect them as we get older, and the strategies we can use to maintain our muscle mass as we grow older.
If you or your loved one is concerned about losing muscle mass while aging, The Villages of Murfreesboro is proud to offer several different types of professionally-led exercise programs and regimes as part of our comprehensive resident services. Contact us to learn more about how we can support you or your loved one and book a tour through our community today!
Why Muscle Mass Is Important?
Researchers believe that, after the age of 30, most people will lose 3% to 5% of their muscle mass every decade, with men losing about 30% of their total muscle mass throughout their life. Without muscle mass, we may start to experience:
- Low stamina
- Mobility problems
- Difficulty lifting objects
- More vulnerable to falls and injuries
This process, known as sarcopenia, could lead to further health and safety problems if it is left unchecked and unmanaged.
What Is Sarcopenia?
- Reduced nervous cells responsible for sending information from your brain to your muscles.
- Lower concentrations of certain hormones, like testosterone, growth hormone, and even insulin.
- A reduced ability to turn protein into energy.
While sarcopenia is considered a natural part of aging, there are several preventable factors that could increase your risk of experiencing muscle loss. These can include:
- Living a sedentary lifestyle
- Poor diet
- Inflammation caused by injury or illness
The very first sign of developing sarcopenia is general weakness over time, especially while lifting objects. You may even start to lose weight as well.
If you think you might be developing sarcopenia, make sure you have regular visits with your physician so they can diagnose the issue and develop a strategy for maintaining muscle mass as you age.
How to Regain Lost Muscle Mass
So to answer the question we asked at the beginning of this post, it is possible to regain lost muscle mass. Even as a senior, there are various different strategies available to help you maintain your muscles, keep you mobile, and help you achieve the quality of life you’re looking for.
Some of the most tried and tested methods include:
Exercising & Strength Training
Regular exercise and strength training is the first and most effective way to regain and maintain lost muscle mass. We recommend speaking to a fitness professional and your doctor to discuss which types of exercises may be best suited for your needs.
Even at The Villages of Murfreesboro, we offer an amazing selection of exercise programs—including a fitness room—to help keep all of our residents fit and active, and our caregiving staff will be happy to manage your fitness journey so you can achieve the most comfortable lifestyle possible.
Second only to exercise is proper dieting. What you eat can have a significant effect on your wellbeing, so eating foods rich in protein, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and creatine can support proper muscle growth and even help reverse muscle loss as you age.
However, it’s important to note that eating healthy by itself won’t help manage muscle loss—you’ll need to exercise regularly as well.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend certain medications to help curb muscle loss. These medications could include:
- Testosterone supplements
- Growth hormone supplements
- Urocortin II, for managing and preventing muscle atrophy
Get Out There & Enjoy Life!
There’s no substitute for living a full, healthy life. Even if you’re worried about losing muscle mass as you grow older, there are plenty of ways you can maintain your strength and mobility just by taking care of yourself.
We at The Villages of Murfreesboro understand the importance of maintaining your body, and we’re proud to offer several different exercise programs that you can take part in as soon as you join our community. To learn more, contact our community today!