Generations of Fit: Maintaining Lean Mass to Extend Your ‘Peak’ Years

By Dr Ernst
February 11, 2016

Getting older isn’t what it used to be.

The process of aging is seldom met with open arms. To many of us, getting older means the loss of our “peak” years and acquainting ourselves with nagging aches and pains. These mis-perceptions are far too common.
It doesn’t have to be this way.

The excuse of “My father smoked cigarettes for breakfast and lived to 65” is hardly anyone’s idea of a healthy life. Luckily, thanks to the massive fitness wave, a person’s health is no longer a fad. It has become a way of life.

However, even the fittest people seem to aim to live to an arbitrary number rather than working to consistently enjoy the years along their journey. Living 100 years doesn’t mean you have to be loaded with medications to eke through each day. It’s about striving for quality, not just quantity.

You can demand more, and your choices today directly affect your late-in-lifestyle.

What is Sarcopenia?

For most Americans, muscle mass tends to begin to diminish as early as your 30s. This experience is referred to as sarcopenia or “the age-related decline of muscle mass.” Sarcopenia lacks the notorious reputation of osteoporosis, a degenerative bone disease, but bears equally dangerous side effects.

As we age, the loss of both muscle and bone mass cause us to become frail and less coordinated, which limits our mobility. This loss can cause accidents that our bodies are not prepared to withstand (e.g. falling down and breaking an arm or hip). In more serious cases, these degenerative diseases play a major role in the onset of dementia or the loss of mental capabilities.

Research shows that exercise, nutrition and hormonal changes play a crucial role in the regulation or loss of muscle mass. Douglas Paddon-Jones, director of exercise studies for the General Clinical Research Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, spoke to U.S. News specifically regarding nutrition’s relationship to sarcopenia.

“Insufficient protein, especially if it’s accompanied by insufficient calories in general, can contribute to sarcopenia.”

 Preventing Degenerative Diseases

The best thing to do to combat degenerative diseases we become susceptible to with age is prevent them.
Even if you’re your 65 or older, it is not too late to start living a healthy lifestyle. However, healthy lifestyle choices in your younger years will carry positive benefits well into your later life and make retirement much more enjoyable. No matter your age, the best time to start is always today.

Whether you’re 27 or 72, you can begin focusing on these three key aspects to improve physical, emotional and spiritual health:

  • Social Functions. Exercising in a group will make exercise much more fun. Staying social into your later years can help your brain remain stimulated even if the grand-kids aren’t able to visit as often. Ensuring your cognitive health is balanced with the rest of your body is absolutely critical, as a healthy brain is the key to a healthy, optimally functioning nervous system.
  • Diet of Real Health. Key nutrients like creatine, vitamin D, whey protein, omega-3 fatty acids and glutamine have shown significant ability to maintain muscle mass. These are all nutrients that health professionals–across all fields–urge you to include into your diet as young adults and are encouraged even after you’ve gone gray.
  • Exercise. Staying active is important to the growth or at least the maintenance of lean muscle mass and bone health. Inactivity will not only take years off your life, it will prevent your body from being able to recover as effectively from injury. Additionally, exercise keeps your brain healthy and sharp even if your memory begins to lose the edge it once had.

Staying fit is a battle at any age. However, incorporating regular exercise into your life has a huge pay off later in life. Regardless of your age today, your activity levels now directly affect your ability to be active later.

Getting Started

The AskDrErnst nutrtion plans are designed to reduce inflammation, balance your hormones and give you the energy you need to get in the shape of your life. We have helped thousands of people across the world convert fat to muscle and enjoy lifelong health. If your not yet making the recipes or enjoying the healthy eating tips, I encourage you to dust off the cover and take the next step.   You already have the resources – its now time to use them!

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