Are you tired by the time you reach the top of the stairs? Have you been ill or hospitalized and lost weight recently? Are you walking slower than normal? These can all be signs of muscle loss, and it's more common than you might think.
Advanced muscle loss, or sarcopenia, affects one in three adults ages 50 and older, according to Age and Ageing review.
"You have more than 600 muscles in your body, which account for up to 40 percent of your body weight — that's almost half of you," explains Suzette Pereira, Ph.D., a researcher specializing in muscle health at Abbott. "While aging is natural, losing too much muscle is not and can directly impact your mobility, strength and energy levels, immune system, and even organ function."
Because muscles are intrinsically linked to so many systems, research published in The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine argues that a person's muscle mass is a far better predictor of health than BMI, orbody mass index.
What are the risks of losing too much muscle? Read on to learn about the impacts and then check out “5 Ways to Age-Proof Your Muscles” for simple diet and exercise strategies to stay active and strong – so you can do the things you love.
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The Benefits of Protein for Older Adults in Preventing Falls and Fragility
If you're an older adult, the occasional fall may not seem that serious. However, you might be surprised to learn that falls are the leading cause of injury and injury-related death among older adults in the United States. Considering that more than one in four older Americans experience at least one fall every year, according to an Abbott study published in OBM Geriatrics, it's crucial to take steps to protect yourself as you age. While changes in vision, balance and reflexes can increase your odds of experiencing a fall, you might be able to reduce the risk of falling by harnessing the benefits of protein. Health experts are now finding that consuming adequate protein might help protect older adults from recurring falls, fragility and other effects of aging. Here's what you need to know about this research and the advantages that protein offers aging adults. What Are the Benefits of Protein? From infancy through advanced age, protein provides our bodies with the building blocks it needs to build and repair cells, tissues, bones and muscles. Protein also helps our bodies make antibodies to help fight infection. As we age, protein has another important job: preventing muscle loss. Starting around age 40, the body naturally starts to lose muscle, losing as much as 8% of its muscle mass each decade. Over the years, this rate of muscle decline progressively accelerates, and it might even double in some people after age 70. Getting enough protein from a balanced diet is one way to combat muscle wasting.