How do I Preserve Muscle Mass?
Muscle mass naturally decreases as we age. It is important to preserve muscle for a variety of reasons. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so you can eat more without gaining weight if you have a decent amount of muscle. Muscle also helps support your bones, tendons and ligaments. Strong muscles will help you complete day to day tasks with relative ease.
Preserving muscle mass gets harder as you get older. What worked when you were in your thirties will not work when you are in your sixties. You also will not see such rapid results as you age. The rewards won’t be as obvious, but you will be glad that you invested the time as you get older.
Lifting weights on a regular basis is the most straightforward way to maintain muscle. While lifting weights two to three times a week will provide optimal results, even one day a week will help maintain the mass that you have. You can lift weights at a gym or invest in some small dumbbells and devote a corner of your living room to weight training.
If weight lifting is not your preferred method of exercise, aerobic exercise such as brisk walking can also help preserve muscle. To get the most benefit from this type of exercise, consider walking on a hilly route or carrying some light dumbbells during your walk. While not as effective as dedicated weight training, any exercise that you will do is more effective than an exercise plan that you will not maintain.
Eating a healthy diet is another important part of maintaining muscle mass. A diet high in protein and healthy fats will help you maintain muscle. While whole grain breads and other high quality carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet, lower quality carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta may leave you too tired to fit in an effective workout.
Finally, if you want to maintain muscle mass, you should stay active. People who spend too much time sitting around the house, watching television or otherwise being sedentary, will lose muscle mass. The older you are, the faster this process occurs. To maintain your muscle levels, stay active and continue to complete everyday activities, such as watering plants and running the vacuum cleaner. The longer you continue with your everyday activities, the easier it will be to maintain your current mass.
Another way to provide resistance training is to utilize an old bicycle inner-tube. You can place one end around a door knob and use the other end for bicep curls, tricep extensions, and you can even work your chest by pulling the tube from one side across your body. Plus, you can take it with you when you travel.
I find wall push ups, crunches, free squats, and lunges an easy to maintain routine. It requires no equipment, and it is free! You can also do tricep dips using a chair. Utilize the environment around you to create resistance. This will maintain muscle mass. Look into the "Bodytrim" system. It really works!
@Glasshouse - Push ups, inverse crunches, and one-leg dead lifts work great. They work your upper body, core, and lower body and they are really simple. Inverse crunches start with your body in a sitting position with your knees bent (tuck them under a sofa to keep your feet down). Lean back like your were doing the second half of a situp, but don't let your back touch the ground. Sit back up and you have done one rep. To do a single-leg dead lift stand on one foot, squat down and touch the ground, and stand back up. Switch feet and repeat to do one repetition. Do 10 push-ups, 10 crunches, and five dead lifts per break, every other day, and you will keep your muscles healthy.
Great article! The author hit on the most important points about maintaining muscle mass. I am wondering what are some specific exercises that I can do at home to maintain muscle mass that don’t involve lifting weights? I work from home and spend a lot of time on my computer (this causes my wife to really keep on me about staying active). I jog occasionally, and I walk the golf courses and take my kid to the park on my days off, but I am looking for exercises to do during quick breaks from the computer. Anyone?
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