In most people, muscle mass begins to decrease in our 40’s. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal describes three simple and natural ways that we can slow this process, known as sarcopenia.
While many people worry themselves with keeping their weight down, the issue of keeping weight on is much more important as we reach later stages in life. More specifically, we need strong muscles that keep us mobile, balanced, and able to live full, independent lives.
Laura Landro, health writer for The Wall Street Journal, notes that pharmaceutical companies are scrambling to develop new drugs that minimize the onset of sarcopenia. However, there will always be natural ways to prevent the loss of muscle mass, and Landro provides three specific things you can do right now.
Eat More Protein
The Society on Sarcopenia, Cachexia and Wasting Disorders says that up to 41% of women and 35% of men age 50 and up are not eating enough protein. If you’re looking to get more protein, seafood tends to be the leanest animal protein and is also high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids that can benefit your heart, lungs and brain as well. Eggs, nuts, beans, and dairy are also excellent sources of protein.
Get Your Vitamin D
The Society on Sarcopenia, Cachexia and Wasting Disorders also claims that low vitamin D levels are linked to low muscle mass. Increasing vitamin D levels “has been shown to increase strength and function and reduce falls.” The best ways to boost your vitamin D are to get some sun and take supplements, such as vitamin D3 or cod liver oil. However, you should always talk to your doctor before adding supplements to your diet, and know the risks of prolonged sun exposure.
“Evidence continues to show the benefits of exercise at any age,” writes Landro. And exercise doesn’t have to mean the gym. You can garden, go for a walk, ride bikes, go hiking, or do just about anything that gets you off the couch!