Healthy aging is important to embrace so that you can not only live longer but live better. A common goal is to live as energetically as possible for as long as possible. When we think about living longer, our brain and heart health are at the top of the list. Of equal importance, we must also look at being active, fit, and strong !
Understanding the Key to Healthy Aging
Once we reach 30, it’s likely that we have already begun to lose lean muscle. A decline in muscle has several underlying factors, including the decreased numbers of muscle stem cells, mitochondrial dysfunction, a decline in protein quality, and hormonal deregulation. The loss of muscle mass is associated with muscle weakness, which can make carrying out daily activities, such as climbing stairs or even getting up from a chair, difficult for many seniors. This can lead to inactivity, which itself leads to muscle loss at any age. And thus the vicious cycle begins.
The good news is that exercise can help prevent and even reverse muscle loss and weakness. Physical activity has been shown to promote mitochondrial health and restore levels of signaling molecules involved in muscle function.
As we age and start to lose muscle, it is best to address the following:
- Eat sufficient protein throughout the day. It is often best to space out your protein across all meals rather than consuming it all at once. Aim for healthy, nutritious sources of protein such as beans, lentils, and tofu in addition to sustainable and humanely raises animal proteins.
- Monitor your body composition regularly to identify when there is a loss in lean mass and an increase in fat mass. Get a professional to help you train your muscles safely and frequently to prevent muscle loss.
- Establish a strength training routine now. Strong bones and joints along with a good amount of lean muscle at any age will help with balance, reducing pain, improving metabolism, improving bone density, and stabilize hormonal fluctuations. As we age, gaining new lean muscle becomes more difficult to attain so build the foundation for increased longevity and vitality.
In general, people tend to become inactive as they age. Unfortunately, inactivity is the true culprit behind muscle loss and weakness. The silver lining, however, is that unlike aging, you can actually do something about inactivity. Studies have shown that physical aging can be slowed down with regular physical activity. That means you should work in regular exercise and muscular strength training into your routine.
It’s never too late to start lifting. Unfortunately, inactivity is a major culprit behind muscle loss and weakness. Part of the beauty of the benefits received from lifting weights, whether it’s through dumbbells, bodyweight exercises, bands, machines, or otherwise, is that you do not have to be young to reap the benefits. Both men and women, older and younger, can benefit from lifting more weights more often. Doing so can help protect your health and aid healthy aging.
Ready to learn more about healthy aging? Contact Genesis Performance. We will help you fit in exercise and wellness practices into your current schedule and inspire you to reach optimal health. We help clients across the nation virtually, and are ready to get started today.