Diet and Exercise Strengthens Muscles at Any Age

exercise

“I have fallen, and I can’t get up.” It’s a catch-phrase from an old TV commercial, but it really isn’t a laughing matter.

About 1 in 4 seniors takes a fall every year, according to the National Council on Aging. Every 11 seconds a senior is admitted to the hospital for a fall. And all too often, a fall can limit activity, contribute to isolation, lead isolation, and even depression.

Are you at risk for falling and getting hurt? You might be. Especially if your diet is off, and you don’t get a lot of exercise.

After age 30, you start to lose 3 to 5 percent of your muscle mass about every decade. Do nothing, and you could lose 15 percent of your lean muscle mass by age 60. It’s a recipe for getting old and frail, losing muscle, balance, and coordination, and ultimately taking a fall that’s hard to recover from.

Is there anything you can do about it? Or is losing muscle mass just part of the aging process? Well, you can’t stop Father Time. But you can slow the aging process with a healthy diet and regular exercise to keep your bones strong and preserve muscle mass.

That’s what researchers concluded in a recent study published in the Journal of Physiology. Muscle wasting, also known as sarcopenia, is a health risk factor for aging adults. But the finding suggest that a healthy diet and being more active can help.

Health professionals recommend older adults get at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity a week, along with strength training at least twice a week. It's a small investment of time that can help you live longer, reduce your risk for injury, and be more mobile and independent as you age. Take a strength training class. Do Stretching exercises. Join a Yoga class. Try bodyweight exercises like planks, squats, and lunges. Even working in the yard can help strengthen muscles.

Your diet makes a difference, too. Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes are packed with vitamins and nutrients your body needs. Dairy, meats, and fish also contain protein that can help preserve lean muscle mass as you age.

Wonder what a healthy Senior Diet looks like? Check out our menu of meals and snacks for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and take your pick. They’re all made from fresh ingredients, are quick to make in the microwave, and clean-up is easy.