For many of us, loss of muscle strength and muscle mass start to get more noticeable as we head into our 30s and 40s. This might start with a few aches and pains after lifting some boxes, a gym workout or an extra long walk, but over time a lack of muscle mass can lead to a number of issues – including poor balance, and bone breakages.
Regular exercise can help reduce or delay some of this age related muscle loss. Regular physical activity is also shown to lower risk of preventable diseases, maintain physical function well into old age, and even improve immune function.
Given how important muscle is for our health, including regular movement into our daily lives is essential.
Much of the research states people should aim to be physically active most days, and include muscle-building exercises at least twice a week. This can include doing bodyweight exercises at home, pilates classes, using resistance bands or including weights into a gym session.
Walking, running and cycling are also very good beyond just building muscle and improving heart health. There’s also a very clear relationship between longevity and doing light physical activity daily.
It's been shown that many older people don't eat enough protein which can contribute to the loss, or lack of, gains when it comes to muscle mass. Including protein in your diet, consumed across the day, is necessary to increase and maintain muscle. You could also supplement lean proteins and protein rich vegetarian sources with a protein power like Nature's Sunshine Love and Peas.
While muscle will inevitably decrease with age, being physically active on a daily basis not only contributes to physical wellbeing but can support mental health, vitality, energy and general well-being.
The earlier you make exercise a habit, the better off you may be in old age!