Muscle is important for good health – here’s how to maintain it after middle age

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Although it may go almost unnoticed at first, almost every cell, organ and biological process gets a little worse every year after the age of 30.

The sum of these processes is what we call aging.

For most of us, losing muscle strength and mass is one of the first and most obvious age-related changes we see.

While this may start with just a few extra minor ailments, over time a lack of muscle mass can lead to a number of problems – including poor balance, frailty and loss of independence.

It’s also linked to a variety of health problems, including an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even dementia.

While researchers aren’t entirely sure why muscle mass decreases so much with age, the good news is that we do know that regular exercise can help mitigate these effects — and may even delay some of that inevitable muscle loss.

Regular physical activity has also been shown to reduce the risk of preventable diseases, maintain physical fitness into old age and even improve immune function.


Because muscles are so important to our health, the best way to maintain them after 30 is to keep moving.

But let’s say you’re someone who hasn’t exercised regularly in a few years or has never done any muscle-building exercises before.

First and foremost, remember that aging doesn’t mean you have to give up heavy physical activity.

Our research found that younger and older men recovered in ways similar to heavy resistance training to build muscle, provided the training was tailored to each participant’s fitness level.

However, it is important to consider your abilities before you start training. A common mistake people make after years (or even decades) of not training is to try to do what they used to do or to do too much and too fast in the first few workouts.

This can lead to injury, so it’s important to gradually increase your training.

Realistically, the best exercise plan is the NHS Physical Activity Recommendations for 18-65 year olds.

This states that people should be physically active most days and do muscle building exercises at least two days a week.

But what exercises to build muscle should you do? Well, there are actually a variety of different types of resistance exercises that you can choose from, and all are more or less equally beneficial as the others.

The cliché that people immediately think of is tall, muscular people lifting heavy weights at the gym, but there are many more possibilities.

So if you prefer bodyweight exercises like Pilates, using resistance bands, or hard yard work to lifting dumbbells, aim for twice a week.

Having fun counts, especially when it means continuing to do your new workout routines.

Cardiovascular exercise (like walking, running, and biking) is also very good for you in many ways, not just for building muscle and improving heart health.

There is also a very clear link between longevity and daily light physical activity.

However, it’s important not to overdo it – especially high-intensity, resistance-based training.

Research shows that more intense, high-intensity physical activity than recommended is not associated with significant longevity benefits.

To be clear, this data does not suggest that high intensity is harmful to health, just that more is not necessarily better.

From a nutritional point of view, many older people do not consume enough protein. In order to build and maintain muscle mass, an adequate protein intake is necessary – even more so if you exercise regularly.

Current guidelines recommend at least 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body mass per day for all adults.

However, if you want to build muscle, you need to double that amount to 1.6 grams per kg of body mass. So a 70kg person would need to consume about 112g of protein per day to build muscle.

That’s the equivalent of eating about a large chicken breast, a protein shake, three eggs, and a can of tuna (although the amount will vary depending on what products you’re using, so be sure to check the labels).

This appears to be particularly important for physically active older people (over 60 years of age).

It’s also good to spread out the protein you eat evenly throughout the day so your body can absorb as much protein as possible per meal.

While muscle mass inevitably decreases with age, no matter how much you exercise, frequent physical activity is still one of the best ways we know when it comes to maximizing both health, fitness, and longevity .

And the sooner you make exercise a habit, the better off you will be as you age.

Written by Bradley Elliott. The conversation.

If you care about health, please read studies on the cause of “brain fog” in long COVID and fatigue and headache, which are among the most common persistent symptoms of long COVID.

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