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Muscle Loss

Aging is not something that anyone likes to think about. We sure talk about it a lot. We spend a ton of money trying to avoid it. I believe we need to embrace it because no matter what we do there is no stopping it. Thankfully, we can slow some aspects of it, such as muscle loss.

Muscle loss that comes with aging is called Sacropenia. That makes it sounds scary. It starts in our 30’s. Yes, that early in life. For folks who are not active the loss can be as much a 3 – 5% per decade. Being active helps reduce that number but no one is immune to the process. The loss of muscle means less strength and mobility. The biggest concern is falls and fractures. We all know that injury from a fall later in life can be the start of a downward spiral. Once again, a healthy lifestyle is the answer.

If you are inactive, get moving. That is the bottom-line. There are so many options of strength training that exist. You may not love any of them but doing something is far better than doing nothing. It all comes back to the Jimmy Connors’ quote:  “Use it or lose it”.

I know that tired feeling. It happens to me too. The words “I don’t feel like it” roll around in my head, and some social media feed gets my attention, and my ironclad plan of doing some exercise is shattered. The secret is to make an agreement with yourself to do something small. Here comes the suggestion for push-ups again. How about some squats? A cardio activity such as walking will help as well. Our bodies need to move to stay healthy.

The other part of the muscle loss reduction equation is nutrition. Muscles need protein. Lean meats, fish, poultry, soy and dairy products are all good. Muscles also need Omega-3 fat acids that are found in salmon and walnuts. Again, consume the amount that is right for your body. If you’re not sure what that is, start with the recommendations of the Canada Food Guide. From there assess how you are feeling. We fuel our bodies with food. If we’re getting the right balance of nutrition we have energy and feel good. Of course the opposite is true if we’re not fuelling well. Keep a journal for a couple of weeks,  and track what you’re eating and how you are physically feeling afterward. It’s amazing how much information we miss when we’re not paying attention.

Lastly, rest is important. I’m not talking about lying around on the couch at the end of the day. Go to bed and sleep. That’s when the muscle rebuilding magic takes place. There is nothing like a good night sleep.

These suggestions will help you to hang on to those beautiful muscles that keep you standing up and moving forward. It can be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other.

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