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17 Ways to Combat Age-Related Muscle and Bone Loss

Are you anxious about muscle and bone loss as you age? Among the many physiological changes that come with aging, two of the most concerning are the loss of muscle mass and the decrease in bone density, known as sarcopenia and osteoporosis. 

Studies suggest that muscle mass decreases by approximately 3-8% per decade after age 30, with an even more rapid decline after age 60. This muscle and bone loss can lead to decreased mobility, a higher risk of falls and fractures, and a general decline in physical independence. These statistics may sound daunting, but you can significantly slow down or even reverse these effects with the right approach.

Detailing 17 ways to combat age-related muscle and bone loss so that you stay strong, active, and independent throughout your golden years.

1. Strength Training

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Strength training is among the most effective strategies to prevent muscle and bone loss. It involves activities that challenge your muscles to work against resistance, such as weight lifting or resistance bands. Research shows that regular strength training can help build muscle mass and enhance bone strength. 

Ideally, exercise at least two to three times a week, targeting all major muscle groups. Effective exercises include squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and rows. If you’re not sure where to start, consult a fitness trainer to establish a routine that meets your needs without harming you.

2. Protein-Rich Diet

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Protein plays a crucial role in the body, particularly in the process of repairing and building muscles. For your body to efficiently use food and exercise the excess calories, you also need more protein. For older adults, daily protein intake should be 1-1.3 grams/kg of body weight. 

Protein can be obtained from lean meats like chicken and turkey, fish and other marine products, eggs, milk, dairy products, and plant sources such as beans and lentils. It is also important to get your protein in divided doses during the day to enhance muscle protein synthesis. 

3. Increase Your Calcium Intake

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Calcium is crucial for enhancing bone development, especially in adults. This mineral is essential for forming and maintaining bodily tissues. A deficiency in calcium can lead to low bone density and frequent fractures.

To ensure adequate calcium intake, incorporate calcium-rich foods into your diet. These include meat, fish, dairy products, vegetables, cereals, and plant-based milk.

Normal adults require 1,000 mg of calcium daily. However, women over 50 and men over 71 should consume 1,200 mg of calcium per day to meet their needs.

4. Get Enough Vitamin D

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Vitamin D is essential in the body as it helps to facilitate the absorption of calcium and is crucial for maintaining healthy bones. Without sufficient vitamin D, the body cannot properly absorb calcium, leading to bone weakness. This deficiency can contribute to conditions such as osteoporosis and rickets.

One of the primary sources of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight, which triggers the production of vitamin D in the skin. However, you can also take vitamin D through certain foods, such as fatty fish (like salmon and tuna), fortified dairy products, and egg yolks. Additionally, vitamin D supplements are available for those who have difficulty meeting their daily requirements through sunlight and diet. 

The recommended daily intake of vitamin D ranges between 600 to 800 international Units, depending on age and health conditions.

5. Stay Physically Active

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Beyond structured exercise routines, total daily physical activities significantly enhance muscle and bone health. Engaging in enjoyable and stimulating activities promotes physical movement. Simple efforts like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking after meals, or playing with grandchildren contribute to this goal.

The recommendation includes at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week and muscle-strengthening exercises on at least two days each week.

6. Flexibility Exercises 

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Flexibility exercises are essential for maintaining a wide range of motion in your joints and preventing stiffness that often comes with age. These exercises stretch various muscles and tendons to keep them more supple, enhance flexibility, and reduce the risk of injuries.

Activities like yoga, Pilates, and tai chi are particularly beneficial. They improve flexibility and enhance balance and coordination. Regular stretching can significantly lower the risk of falls by keeping joints supple, and muscles lengthened, promoting smoother and more coordinated movements. 

7. Avoid Smoking and Excessive Alcohol

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Smoking and excessive drinking of alcohol are known to be unhealthy for anyone and such habits should be thrown out as they greatly contribute to the development of muscle and bone decline. Both can deplete the body’s calcium reserves, weakening bones and a higher risk of fractures. 

Furthermore, smoking decreases lung function, making it harder for the body to absorb oxygen, which is crucial for building and maintaining muscle mass. Excessive alcohol consumption also affects hormone production, decreasing testosterone levels in men and estrogen levels in women, which can lead to reduced bone density. 

If you require help with smoking or alcohol, try finding a smoking cessation program or a counseling service.

8. Maintain a Healthy Weight

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Keeping a healthy weight is important for your overall well-being, especially your muscles and bones. Extra weight can stress out your joints and bones, upping your chances of arthritis and fractures. Conversely, being underweight can weaken bone density and muscle mass, leaving your body less sturdy.

To stay in that sweet spot, aim for a balanced diet full of nutrients, stay active, and practice mindful eating. Monitor weight changes and chat with healthcare professionals to create a plan that fits your health needs and goals. Maintaining a healthy weight will boost your quality of life and lower the risk of several health problems.

9. Practice Good Posture

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Good posture is key for muscle and bone health, helping to prevent strain and injury. Proper alignment distributes gravity evenly, reducing the risk of chronic pain in the neck, shoulders, and back. Simple actions like sitting up straight, keeping your shoulders back, and aligning your ears with your shoulders improve posture. 

Consistently practicing good posture can enhance your physical appearance, boost confidence, and contribute to overall well-being.

10. Stay Hydrated

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Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining good health, especially as you age. Water plays a significant role in regulating body temperature, flushing out toxins, and ensuring that joints remain lubricated and muscles function properly.

Older adults must monitor their fluid intake, as the sensation of thirst can diminish with age, potentially leading to dehydration. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water daily or more if you are physically active or live in a hot climate. 

Proper hydration supports every cell and system in the body, promoting energy levels, cognitive function, and overall physical well-being. 

11. Include Omega-3 Fatty Acids

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Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, such as salmon and mackerel, flax seeds, and walnuts, possess anti-inflammatory properties that help promote bone health. Many foods can be incorporated into your diet to prevent bone breakdown and thus avoid osteoporosis.

12. Reduce Stress

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It is well-documented that chronic stress can lead to inflammation and weaken the immune system, potentially exacerbating muscle and bone issues. Incorporating stress-relief techniques into your daily routine can have numerous benefits.

Practices such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga can help calm the mind and reduce the production of stress hormones like cortisol, negatively affecting bone density and muscle strength.

13. Get Enough Sleep

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For muscles and bones to be healthy, adequate rest is important for the human body. While sleeping, a repair and rebuilding process goes on in the muscular tissues and even bones. 

Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep at night to enhance the body’s healing process and replenish energy. Anything that disrupts sleep can negatively affect the body’s physical health, as the body becomes inflamed.

14. Use Proper Ergonomics

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Like good posture, performing routine tasks with the correct technique and incorporating optimal tool use can minimize the risk of muscle and bone damage risk. Adapt the collective work-places, chairs and tools that you use frequently in your day-to-day activities in a way that reduces the pressure on your spine. 

Ergonomic solutions will help you prevent the development of MSDs (Musculoskeletal Disorders) and enhance well-being and efficiency at work. 

15. Consider Physical Therapy

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Physical therapy is great for keeping your muscles and bones healthy, especially as you age or recover from an injury. A licensed physical therapist can create a plan tailored to your needs, focusing on exercises that improve strength, flexibility, and balance. They also teach proper body movements to prevent more injuries. 

Sessions may include manual therapy, exercises, and treatments like heat, ice, or electrical stimulation to help healing and prevent injury. 

16. Stay Positive and Motivated

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Maintaining a positive mindset and staying motivated are equally important for muscle and bone health. To stay positive and motivated, set realistic and achievable goals, celebrate small victories, and surround yourself with a support system of friends, family, or workout partners who encourage and inspire you.

Engage in activities you enjoy and mix up your routine to keep it interesting. Motivation is the driving force that keeps you engaged and consistent in your health regimen.

17. Get Regular Health Screenings

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Annual checkups with your doctor should be observed to track your bone health and muscle strength; your doctor will be able to address the situation before it worsens. Older people take bone density tests, for instance, to check their osteoporosis level.

17 Things That Happen When Someone Stops Drinking

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Have you ever wondered what changes you might see in yourself once you put down the glass for good? Deciding to quit drinking, even if you don’t drink “that much,” can be life-changing. 

Studies show that alcohol consumption has been linked to over 200 diseases and around 178000 deaths in the US each year. You’re taking a decisive step towards improving your health and overall well-being by quitting drinking.

17 Things That Happen When Someone Stops Drinking

27 Ways Real People Were Able to Lose Weight Sustainably without Extreme Dieting

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Finding it challenging to lose those stubborn extra pounds, and growing more disheartened by the digits on your scale? The plethora of diets, exercise routines, and conflicting guidance can, without a doubt, feel quite bewildering. In the midst of numerous choices and contradictory information, you might naturally ponder: Where should you even commence?

27 Ways Real People Were Able to Lose Weight Sustainably without Extreme Dieting

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