When you enter your fifties and beyond, build and maintain muscle becomes more important than ever. The reason for this is that you start losing muscle as you age if you don’t do anything to maintain it. Muscular mass is the fountain of youth, keeps you fit and healthy, and prevents diseases and metabolic disorders, to research shows. Suffice it to say, if you haven’t done any resistance or strength training, now is the time to start right away. No stress, because we have imagined five daily habits to maintain muscle mass after 50, from diet to exercise, because they go hand in hand.
Although it’s never too late to start muscle building and preserving it, it’s always a good idea to consult a medical professional before beginning an aggressive training plan. If you have and are ready to maintain muscle mass after 50, here are some effective habits you can include in your daily routine. Keep reading to find out more, and then don’t miss out 5 daily exercises to improve muscular endurance as you age.
If your goal is to maintain muscle mass, you need to force your body to maintain it. This means lifting weights or performing resistance training, where your muscles are stimulated in some way. The Department of Health and Human Services suggests strength training your major muscle groups twice a week to improve muscle fitness (via the Mayo Clinic).
If you don’t have access to the weights, no worries. You can use resistance bands or even bodyweight movements such as squats, pushups, and lunges. The key here is consistency!
Outside of your workouts, it’s crucial to be as physically active as possible. This will keep your muscles engaged and your basal metabolic rate (BMR) high. (BMR is the number of calories you burn when your body is performing basic functions.)
Needless to say, whether it’s doing yard work, household chores, or getting your groceries home, get creative and get moving. The key point is to move whenever possible.
While you want to stay physically active to keep your muscles stimulated, it’s equally important to relax and calm your body, which will keep your cortisol levels low. Make sure you get enough sleep, as you build muscle during your resting phase. How much sleep is enough? The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society suggest getting a minimum of seven hours of Z each night, according to the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention.
In addition to resistance training, the American College of Sports Medicine explains that getting the right amount and type of protein in your diet is imperative if you want to build and maintain muscle.
I recommend most of my clients eat at least one gram per pound of lean body mass. And when it comes to protein choices, choose lean options. That means chicken, turkey, lean cuts of red meat, eggs, low-fat dairy, and protein powders. Make sure each of your meals contains at least one serving of protein.
People are afraid of carbs, especially if they are looking to lose fat. However, you don’t want to be carbophobic. Carbohydrates actually help fuel your workouts and can even help you build muscle. Make sure you always eat them and that they come from healthy sources. Choose them wisely i.e. rice, beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, quinoa and fruits.
Tim Liu, CSCS
Tim Liu, CSCS, is a Los Angeles-based online fitness and nutrition coach Learn more about Tim