We talk a lot about ensuring women retain strong bones as they age. It’s a conversation that starts during young adulthood when bones are absorbing calcium most efficiently. We discuss the importance of maintaining muscle mass less. We need to prioritize this not just for strength, but because it’s important for our overall health (and it helps keeps those bones protected too). The loss of muscle over time, known as sarcopenia, begins around age forty, with a loss of 3-5% per decade. Focusing on maintaining muscle mass prevents significant loss from occurring and negatively impacting our overall health as we age. Here is how to maintain your muscle.
The first step to preserving strength is to maintain greater muscle mass throughout the lifespan. While cardio is always encouraged for sustaining a strong heart and building endurance, resistance training is also important, as it builds strong muscles. It doesn’t take much. Light or moderate weight training done with repetition or simple exercises using body weight are acceptable and effective for maintaining muscle mass.
Protein is essential for many reasons, including for building and maintaining muscle. For most healthy adults, up to 35% of their total calories should come from protein, which is about 100 grams for an individual consuming 2000 calories per day (20% of calories from protein). Health experts generally recommended that women consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. A variety of protein sources is best to ensure that you’re consuming adequate nutrition to maintain a healthy body.
Consuming protein is important, but how it’s metabolized and absorbed in the body matters too. Recent research shows that probiotics can aid in the absorption of amino acids (the building blocks of protein), especially when it comes to plant-based proteins. Some strains of probiotics may also increase muscle mass and improve strength. While this data is emerging, it’s another reason to incorporate probiotics in the diet. Use Guiding Stars’ new beverage guidance to locate beverages with live cultures, a significant source of probiotics.
Maintaining muscle mass isn’t just about consuming adequate protein. Aim to have an overall balanced diet, with nutrient dense foods that support an active day and reduce risk of illness. Guiding Stars can help you meet this goal by quickly and easily identifying nutritious foods and beverages that support good health so that you have more time to focus on maintaining an active lifestyle and life’s other demands. Bring it all together with these nutritious recipes that offer balanced nutrition to fuel your day: