Combating Muscle Loss in Seniors
Submitted by Jane Sandwood, Fitness Expert
Age-related muscle loss, also known as Sarcopenia, is estimated to occur in up to 45% of older adults. As we get older our bodies start to deteriorate with muscle loss being one of the biggest setbacks of the aging process. A progressive loss of muscle mass starts to occur from as early as 40 years of age. This is a major concern especially for older athletes and those seniors who once enjoyed an active lifestyle.
Due to the realities of aging, the elderly have to approach muscle maintenance differently to how they would have if they were younger. One of the most important factors to focus on when looking to strengthen your muscles is your diet. We are able to strengthen our aging muscles simply by eating the correct foods. This might sound tricky but it is very simple and does not require you to purchase expensive food supplements. Together with a healthy diet, mild exercise is also essential in maintaining strong muscles. There are a variety of activities in Kootenay involving fitness which presents a great opportunity not only to remain fit but to socialize as well.
- Ensuring Adequate Nutrition: Aside from exercising, diet plays a key role in promoting muscle growth and slowing down the effects of Sarcopenia. Here are some foods that seniors will find beneficial:
- Eggs: There’s a reason eggs are known as the perfect protein as they are fabulous when it comes to building muscle and preventing muscle loss in seniors. The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for an adult, including the elderly, is 0.36g of protein per pound of body weight. Of course, you don’t have to get all your protein from eggs but they sure are a good source. Apart from having eggs for breakfast you can beat eggs into your mashed potato, chop cooked egg into your favorite salad or enjoy a deviled egg as a healthy snack
- Cheese: Add grated cheese to your scrambled eggs or as a topping on crackers. Put a slice on your sandwich or toast or simply eat a chunk in between meals.
- Meat: Meat protein forms an essential part of the diet and is vital for muscle building and maintenance. Meats are often excluded from the diets of the elderly because they become hard to eat. Ground beef, however, is not only versatile but of a consistency that is easy to consume. Make a delicious meatloaf or a rich meat sauce for your pasta or look around for delicious ground beef recipes. You can also make bone broth, soup or casseroles, all of which are easy to prepare and convenient to consume.
- Peanut Butter: Peanut Butter is fast establishing itself as a super-food and you can eat it in many ways from spreading on a sandwich to eating straight out of the container with a spoon.
- Milk: Milk is known to build strong bones but once you pass 50 years of age it becomes more of a muscle-building agent. If you don’t enjoy drinking regular milk try incorporating it into sauces or make a delicious milkshake.
It is imperative that seniors enjoy protein sources with every meal as it forms an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. When paired with a certain degree of muscle building activities, a seniors diet will go a long way to prevent the risk of falling and to speed up recovery after an injury.