Getting older doesn’t just mean pesky gray hair and sneaky wrinkles that shock you when you look in the mirror. Your body goes through many changes below the surface, one of them being the loss of lean muscle mass, also known as sarcopenia. Staying on top of your muscle mass is the name of the game as you age. In fact, your independence and general well-being depend on it! That’s why we’re here to share exactly how to regain muscle mass after 60 with expert advice.
According Harvard Health Publishing, you can lose 3-5% of your muscle mass every ten years after your 30th birthday. If you don’t do anything to build and maintain lean muscle mass, sarcopenia could lead to decreased mobility. It can also make you feel weak, increasing your risk of falls, broken bones, or other injuries. Needless to say, there’s no better time than the present to spring into action and give your daily routine a well-deserved facelift.
We spoke with Maggie Priore, a personal trainer on Fyt, the nation’s largest personal training service that offers in-person or virtual expert training, who walks us through the top daily habits for regaining muscle mass after 60. year. It’s time to listen and take notes!
Let’s face it: strength training is king, especially when it comes to building and maintaining muscle mass. Priore dubs it “the single most important habit you can develop to build muscle at any age.”
Performing exercises that have “progressive overload,” meaning increasing the intensity of the movement by slowly increasing the time, number of reps, or weights, helps you rebuild muscle mass. According to Priore, “Other benefits include having more energy throughout the day, increased prevention of arthritis (and other conditions for which we are more at risk as we age), better posture and flexibility.”
If you’re new to strength training, incorporate it into your fitness routine two to three times a week for 30 to 45 minutes.
Now that we’ve established how necessary strength training is, let’s talk about goal setting. When starting a health and fitness regimen, setting small goals is essential. Another key piece of information? Be patient, because everything is a process!
According to Priore, “Setting too big a goal or expecting huge muscle gains after just a few weeks can lead to discouragement. It takes time to regain muscle.” She suggests writing down the goals you’d like to achieve in one month, three months, and six months. At the end of each period, write down what you have achieved and what you can work on. Each time you reassess your progress, adjust your goals as you see fit.
Stretching helps you avoid muscle pain and injury. It’s a necessity – not a question – to perform a solid warm-up and cool-down routine for every workout you do. Plus, says Priore, “on days when you’re not strength training, spending some time stretching will help improve posture, eliminate back pain, and improve flexibility.”
Okay, we can’t say enough good things about strength training, but let’s not forget to show some love to low-impact cardio too. Setting aside time for low-impact cardio workouts like walking, using the elliptical, swimming, or hiking your favorite trails is incredibly beneficial. How? Priore says this form of exercise can help you lose fat and tone your whole body. Low-impact cardio is a stellar choice to incorporate into any regular fitness rotation, so get started early.
Increasing the amount of protein you eat has many health benefits. Priore tells us: “Not only [will it] help you regain muscle mass, but [it will] also help promote weight loss. A person trying to increase muscle mass should have between 0.5 and 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.”
You may not know this, but getting enough sleep is just as important as staying on track with a healthy diet and workout routine. “Active adults should get at least seven hours of sleep a night,” says Priore, adding, “A good night’s sleep gives your muscles time to recover from workouts and other activities. rebuild and you’ll have better energy for your next workout.”
Alexa is the associate editor of Eat This, Not That!’s Mind + Body, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling stories about fitness, wellness and self-care to readers. Learn more about Alexa
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