You might not qualify for any senior-citizen discounts yet, but aging starts sooner than you might expect.

We start losing bone mass as early as our 30’s, particularly in our lower-body, and our balance often starts to decline in our 50s.

Men and women have equal rates of muscle loss between the age 30 and 50; about 10% every ten years. And women experience a double-whammy when menopause hits; a rapid increase in bone loss for as long as 10 years before it normalizes along aforementioned bone loss. The combined bone & muscle loss can lead to problems with balance and gait. Doing things like going up and down stairs without holding a handrail become more challenging.

The combination of muscle and bone loss becomes a real problem when people reach their 60s and 70s, which is why maintaining muscle strength in your 40s and 50s is so important. Lower-body and core strength is especially critical because it helps to prevent osteoporosis-related fractures.

The earlier you start an exercise program the better.

Keep the fire burning

Muscle mass is central to your metabolism, i.e., the rate at which fat and calories are burned. The more muscle you have the higher your metabolism is and the result is more fat burned each day. This also help to slow the aging process. By simply stepping up activities like walking, short periods of strength training, and/or gardening can slow down the loss of muscle and loss of balance.

If you don’t make time for exercise, you will make time for illness!

You can start your exercise program without any equipment by doing bodyweight exercises like push-ups, squats, body planks. Don’t overthink it by trying to do too many complicated exercises. I like the KISS (keep it super simple) principle. It’s more important to stay consistent by doing physical activity most days of the week.

Exercise and physical activity can be a fun way to spend some time with others or alone. It gives you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends. Take a dance class, hit the hiking trails or join a soccer team. Find a physical activity you enjoy or dare to try something new.

MAKE time for physical activity.

More Protein

In order to keep your muscles strong and to keep your metabolism running like a fine tuned engine you must feed it the proper fuel “clean protein”. It is recommended that you should consume 1to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (your weight X 2.2=Kilograms of body weight) spread over 5 meals.

It’s not hard to get this amount of protein if you eat protein at every meal / snack.

Some great sources of protein are 4 oz chicken breast is about 36 grams, eggs 6-9 grams, ½ c of beans has about 16 grams. Protein shakes are another option.

The key is in the preparation. If you plan your meals in advance you are more likely to be successful than relying on your hunger making the decisions about what you should eat!

People living in the great Pacific Northwest are often Vitamin D deficient. A lack of Vitamin D has been associated with low muscle strength, so consider adding a Vitamin D3 supplement to your diet.

The best exercise for aging muscles is either controlled resistant strength training, cardiovascular exercise or a combination of the two.

Resistance exercises can improve strength, which works to prevent osteoporosis-related fragility fractures.
while aerobic exercise can improve overall health and quality of life. I recommend a combination of strength training and aerobic exercise for 20 to 30 minutes a minimum of three times a week.

Build Reserves

Muscle strength declines as we age and whatever we can do to offset this through diet & exercise will pay off later. I don’t believe frailty can be prevented in all people, but we can reduce it to a smaller percentage of the population.

Now matters! It doesn’t matter how old you are or your current physical condition. You can start where you are, be consistent with diet & exercise and will see progress.

Making small changes can have a huge effect over time. Take charge of your health today to improve your quality of life tomorrow. If you don’t know where to start, contact a fitness professional for help.

When you decide to take charge of your health you will be drinking from the fountain of youth and still getting gains in your golden years.