Ever heard of sarcopenia? Don’t worry — you’re not the only one! According to a recent study, only 3 percent of people over 50 have heard of it. Sarcopenia is actually age-related muscle loss, which is where our bodies start to lose muscle and tone from about the age of 45. As our muscles keep us balanced and active, this makes us gradually more prone to tiredness and even falls.
But the good news is that there are some easy ways to beat muscle loss. To tell us how, we asked Dr. Max Gowland, founder of over-50s supplement range Prime Fifty, to share his expert tips on keeping your muscles trim and tight.
Tin up on tuna.
As you get older, your body naturally finds it harder to get all the goodness out of protein, which is exactly what your muscles really need.
The key is to get a bit more protein on your plate, and this doesn’t have to mean beefing up on steak. Actually tuna, chicken, and turkey are better sources of protein, and they contain less fat than red meat. If you’re a vegetarian, remember dairy products like cheese and milk are a great and easy source of high-quality protein, as is oatmeal.
Pick up a weight.
This doesn’t have to be “World’s Strongest Man”-style feats of fortitude. Just a little bit of light resistance training will help to keep your muscles nice and active.
Try grabbing a small pair of weights and using them next time you do some walking or aerobic exercise. Not only will this send your body a signal to keep producing muscle, but weight-training also speeds up your metabolism and encourages your body to burn more fat.
Crack some yolks.
Eggs are a great source of vitamin D, which plays a very important role in keeping your muscles working well. All the vitamin D goodness is in the yolk, so whether it’s eggs and soldiers, or fried eggs sunny side up, make sure the yolk is at the heart of the action.
Other great sources of vitamin D include liver, oily fish, and nutritional supplements. And don’t forget to get outdoors — sunlight triggers our bodies to make vitamin D for itself.
Get more sleep.
Forty winks (or more!) are crucial for giving your body the chance to rest, recover, and recuperate. Our muscles are no exception to this, and gradual muscle loss can leave us feeling a bit more tired than we used to get.
Stay in good shape by getting a good night’s sleep, and remember, napping during the day can also help to refresh you and keep your energy levels up. If you have trouble nodding off, why not try a natural sleep aid like chamomile tea or even warm milk with nutmeg?
Eat your oysters.
Getting zinc into your diet is a great support for your muscle health, and you can find it in oysters, as well as in other seafoods like crab and lobster. It’s also found in beans, whole grains, and nuts, along with magnesium, another key ingredient for helping your muscles stay nice and active. Other great sources of magnesium are avocados, yogurt, and (good news) dark chocolate!
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