As time goes by, you notice that your body starts behaving differently. Aging is a natural process, and unfortunately, the associated acute and chronic conditions that come along with it are normal as well. One of the common signs of aging and a common condition that develops in the latter stages of life is called sarcopenia. Simply put, sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass and bone density, which starts happening after the age of fifty for most people.
Even though sarcopenia is the price we pay for inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do to fight its effects. In fact, if you start now, you can build a healthier, stronger body than ever before that will ensure you stay vibrant and healthy throughout your silver years. With that in mind, here are the five tips to fight sarcopenia through proper nutrition and exercise.
Getting slowly back into training
The best way to fight sarcopenia and to stop muscle and bone degradation is to start exercising. However, you can’t just spring into action from an otherwise sedentary lifestyle, because you could injure yourself and burn out way before you get the chance to develop long-term habits. Because remember, fitness is a journey, one that begins with you learning to walk before you can run.
So, be sure to start slowly and plan your training journey. You can start by visiting your doctor and having them prescribe you an at-home workout routine. This routine should be light and enjoyable to get your body accustomed to exercise and motivate you to push further. Once you have developed a healthy exercise habit, you can start working on your nutrition.
Developing healthier eating habits
Sarcopenia doesn’t have a single point of origin, nor is it something you can overcome just by exercising several times a week. If you are to elevate your overall health, banish unwanted fat, and build functional muscle mass, then you need to start eating well. This process begins with you eliminating all unhealthy foods from your diet and banishing it from your home.
Junk food has no place in your new lifestyle, and you should fill up your pantry and fridge with healthy, wholesome foods from a variety of sources. These should include various vegetables, nuts and seeds, dairy products, lean meats, fish, legumes, and more. That said, your key focus should be to get more protein into your diet.
Focusing on protein intake
Protein is so important for fighting sarcopenia that it deserves a separate mention. Most people, young or old, do not get enough protein in their diets on a daily basis. This leads to the overconsumption of other nutrients like carbs and fats, which are not conducive to building lean muscle mass. Remember, protein is the building block of muscle, and you need a protein-focused diet to help build a healthier, stronger body.
That said, getting enough protein on daily basis is difficult. This is why complementing your nutrition with a protein supplement is a good way to get enough protein every day without overconsuming on calories. As a senior, you also need to keep in mind that supplementing with protein will alleviate some of the pressure off your digestive system, which can come under stress if you consume too much protein from food.
Progressive overload is the key
Once you have developed the habit of exercising at home and eating properly, you can start upping your training sessions. To build muscle efficiently and effectively, you need to make your workouts progressively more challenging over time. This doesn’t mean that you should push yourself beyond your limits, rather, it simply means that incremental progress builds muscle and helps you fuel your fitness goals.
With that in mind, be sure to start adding repetitions to your workouts, prolong your cardio sessions, or even join a local gym. The gym is a controlled environment where you can work out alone or even with a personal trainer who will monitor your progress, keep you safe, and instruct you on the best ways to make your workouts more intense to get the best results.
Making sure your body is recovering
Last but not least, you mustn’t push yourself so hard that your body is unable to recover from the workout. Always keep in mind that muscle growth occurs during the recovery process, not while you’re working out. If you want to maximize your performance and achieve your goal, which is to banish sarcopenia, then you need to make sure you’re resting properly.
Firstly, know when it’s time to stop your workout. Next, make sure you’re are sleeping enough so that your body can recuperate. Adhere to proper warm-ups and cool-downs in the gym to stretch your muscles and keep your joints and ligaments flexible and mobile.
Sarcopenia is a medical condition that comes naturally as we age, but that doesn’t mean that we should let it ruin our quality of life. You have a chance to overcome this challenge and set the stage for a thriving future imbued with health and happiness, so make sure you use these tips to banish sarcopenia from your life.