It’s almost a guarantee that your muscles will shrink and get weaker as you age. The process can actually begin relatively early, too. It’s possible that sarcopenia – age-related muscle loss – can begin at 35, at a rate of 1-2 percent per year.
After 60, that can accelerate to 3 percent.
Most people take muscle for granted. You might think that having muscle is only about moving and lifting heavy things, so if you’re not doing that, then why should you care?
But muscle is essential to everyday movements. Getting up off the toilet, putting your socks on, or putting away plates all require muscle. So does lugging around presents and decorations.
The only way to avoid, or at least limit muscle loss, is to exercise them. Resistance training, or weight training, can contribute to muscle growth, retention, greater independence, lower risk for falls, greater mobility, and a better aging experience.
So, how can you build muscle strength? The straight answer is weight-bearing activity. Even going for a walk can help strengthen legs to improve balance and retain muscle. How? Your legs have to hold you up.
Some other exercises to try include wall squats, where you use the wall as back support to perform squats, and standing calf raises.
Some exercises to help you retain upper body strength include push-ups and rubber band rows.
Rubber bands can be a great tool to help apply tension to muscles to improve strength. They are affordable, easy to store, and available at most online and brick-and-mortar sporting goods stores.
In addition to resistance exercise multiple times per week, try boosting protein intake. Including a protein shake and finding ways to include more dietary protein in meals can also help battle muscle loss.