Building muscle is not just for bodybuilders. If you want to live independently as long as possible, you need to maintain muscle strength. If you need to use your hands to help stand up after sitting in a chair, your thigh muscles are weak. The ultimate test for seniors, if you sit on the floor, can you stand up without assistance?
We start losing muscle almost from the day we are born. We start to notice muscle loss in our 30’s and most certainly by 60. But muscle loss does not have to be part of your “normal” aging. Sleep, exercise and eating adequate protein will help you keep your muscles well into your golden years.
Muscle growth is triggers by many hormones and metabolic pathways. One of the most important muscle growth related hormones is growth hormone. Growth hormone helps build muscle and is also most exclusively released during deep sleep. Most deep sleep occurs before midnight.
Sleep allows you to recover and rebuild muscle. Without eating proper protein during the day, muscle is broken down while you are asleep. You can change this by eating protein and exercising. The type of protein, the amount of protein and time you eat protein in relationship to exercise are crucial.
Here are some things you can do to prevent age related muscle wasting.
You need to lift weights.
Upper Body Dead weight lifts are ideal but work your way toward this. Start by lifting the weight of your arms. Then add light weights of less than 5 pounds.
Lower Body: squats. You may only be able to do a few. Keep going eventually you'll amaze yourself.
Torso: If you find yourself slightly bend forward, your trunk muscles are weak. Plank exercises will strengthen abdominal muscles. You can also use gym equipment that requires you to flex the muscle against resistance.
To grow muscle, you need to eat twice the recommended about of protein per day, RDA 1.6 g/kg/day. Eat a diet with a high protein to carbohydrate ratio. Restrict calories to 1600/day. To build greater muscle mass, consume protein within 3 hours of exercise. If you eat protein in the hours before exercising, you will get some increase in muscle mass but not as much as eating after exercise.
Get 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Growth hormone is released during the early evening and peaks between 10-11 pm. Go to bed before 11:00 p.m.