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Healthy Aging: Maintaining Muscle

 

Aging is a natural stage of life and as we age our bodies send us signals of the aging process. Whether it is sore joints or realizing certain activities are more strenuous than they once were, aging is an inevitable part of life. Fortunately, there has been a significant amount of research on how to transition into later years and make them as healthy and enjoyable as possible. There is no time limit for a healthy lifestyle. One essential part of aging well is maintaining muscle. Muscle is lost rapidly past the age of sixty, which causes numerous other problems and complications.


Once our bodies reach sixty years of age, we begin to lose muscle. Muscle loss in older people is a serious issue because it makes the body frailer, and muscle becomes more difficult to gain. It is imperative to include in your daily diet a high amount of protein. This will sustain muscle tissue and keep muscles functioning properly. A lack of protein can be detrimental, and may result in hunched shoulders, loose discs in the spine and balance issues. Older individuals are at risk of these muscle problems, so must consciously plan to include in their diets a greater intake of protein.


The suggested intake is four servings of protein, with 30 grams of protein for each serving. The best sources of protein are chicken, fish, and beef. The body metabolizes 30 grams of protein every six hours so be sure to eat an adequate supply within this window of time. Older adults need protein for breakfast, twice during the day, and before bed. Egg white protein is a great source. Eating four egg whites for breakfast ensures a healthy start to the day. It is also beneficial to drink a high protein low fat low carbohydrate shake with no fruit before bed to supply your body throughout the night.


If you are interested in another source of protein, ask one of our weight loss doctors about whey protein. Whey protein comes from milk and is a rich source. Whey protein can be easily found as a dietary supplement or protein powder that can be mixed into food and drinks. Two servings of whey protein a day is a great way to insure your body gets the protein it needs to build or maintain your muscle, in addition to meat proteins.


Leucine is also suggested to avoid significant muscle loss while aging. Leucine is an essential amino acid, which means that the body cannot produce it on its own. It must be ingested. Leucine is found in certain foods, but it can simply be taken as a dietary supplement or can be found in protein powders, just as whey protein. Adding 2.5 grams of Leucine to your diet can promote muscle recovery and maintenance.


With age, protein becomes crucial for maintaining muscle, ensuring muscle growth, and halting muscle loss. Exercise is also a necessity at all ages and should continue after the age of sixty. Exercising is an important step for healthy aging. Research shows that regular aerobic exercise keeps the mind sharp, reduces risks of diabetes, and lowers blood pressure. Aging people need to walk at least 2 miles a day. The brisker the walk, the better, since a fast pace gets the heart working.


A combination of high amounts of protein and keeping active will maintain proper muscle mass as well as ideal weight. For any questions, talk to one of our medical weight loss doctors.


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