Fight Back! Reverse the Signs of Aging
Aging is a natural part of life. Gray hairs, wrinkles, and body aches; these are the typical first signs of aging we see. Some say it's inevitable, but is it really? While we might get a little rounder in our midsection or wake up to stiffer joints in the morning, evidence suggests the aging process can be reversed. The question is: Are you ready to fight back?
Let's take a look at age-related muscle loss, or what's medically known as Sarcopenia. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, as muscles age, they begin to shrink and lose mass. But what would happen if you could fight back and prevent this loss of muscle mass from even occurring? Oh wait…you can! Just a few simple lifestyle changes can make all the difference between you being bedridden and living the active and fulfilled life you desire.
Preventing muscle loss begins with what we put into our bodies. Research reveals adults age 65 and older require between 1 and 1.2 g of protein per kg of body weight daily for healthy muscles. Protein can come from eating meat, poultry, fish, and milk. For vegetarians, protein can also be found in soy products, such as tofu, lentils, beans, nuts, and soymilk. Keep in mind it's always good to consult with your doctor before making changes to your diet.
To safeguard your physical health and prevent the onset of age-related muscle loss, make sure you are getting your recommended daily nutritional intake. This includes vitamin D, B12, folic acid, and of course protein. A study has found seniors are only consuming 16% of their daily recommended calories as protein. While adequate nutrition is important at any age, it's especially important for adults over 60. This is the time we start to see a serious decline in muscle strength and function. A good rule of thumb to remember is the more protein you eat, the more muscle your body makes. And, the more muscle your body makes, the more you can continue doing the things you love to do.
Fitness and Exercise
Along with nutrition, fitness and exercise is essential. The older we get, the more we have to work at staying in shape. If you're over the age of 60, consider the benefits of weight training or resistance exercises. These exercises rejuvenate and restore blood flow and circulation to the extremities. To get started, check out this 30-minute workout routine from WebMD. Always take caution before starting any new workout regimen and consult with your doctor first.
At Presbyterian Senior Living, staying healthy through fitness and exercise is encouraged. In fact, being physical is one of the pillars of Masterpiece Living—a program making a huge impact on the way older adults throughout our communities live life. Not only do we support and provide opportunities for active and healthy seniors to remain physical within the communities they live, we employ a great group of staff that backs these efforts, too.
Nevertheless, for those who feel they may be too old to exercise—yet alone begin a weight training regimen—know that you are never too old. Without exercise, older adults are at an increased risk for falls and fractures, experience slower metabolism, and lose the ability to perform everyday tasks. Therefore, no matter where you are in life, it's never too late. Through regular fitness and exercise, you can make significant gains in strength and ability.
Rest and Relaxation
You may now be thinking, "Rest and relaxation? Doesn't this go against the 'being active' part we just learned about?" Well, the thing is our bodies need downtime in order to repair and rebuild new muscle. The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests adults sleep 7 or more hours per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health. Without it, our bodies can't function. So here are some tips to ensure you're getting a full night's sleep:
- Set and stick to a sleep schedule.
- Talk with your doctor about medications you're taking that could be interfering with your sleep pattern.
- Don't exercise within 4 hours of going to bed.
- Limit your caffeine intake.
- Wind down before bedtime by listening to soothing music.
- Set your thermostat between 65° and 75° to help your body produce melatonin which in turn induces sleep.
- Try spraying or rubbing your body with essential oils or lavender to calm the senses.
- Eliminate all light from entering the room with the use of blackout curtains.
- Make sure laptops, phones, and other electronics are out of reach.
- Stop smoking. Nicotine is a stimulant and prevents you from falling asleep.
Ready to fight back and reverse the signs of aging? Now, it's your turn. We hope this article has been helpful. With proper nutrition, adequate exercise, and a little bit of R&R, you'll soon be on your way to a healthier, happier, stronger you. Age is just a number; it has nothing on you.
Learn More About Presbyterian Senior Living and How We're Helping Older Adults Remain Healthy and Active in Their Communities.
About Presbyterian Senior Living
Presbyterian Senior Living is a not-for-profit organization, fulfilling its charitable purpose and mission by providing high quality retirement choices, healthcare services and affordable residential living options for people 55 and older for more than 85 years. Headquartered in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, Presbyterian Senior Living provides services to approximately 6,000 seniors in 30 locations in the mid-Atlantic region of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and Delaware.