As adults age, they naturally lose muscle mass. However, there are many techniques seniors can use to counteract the effect. There’s no reason older adults cannot become stronger and more flexible. By taking control of their physical fitness, seniors can increase the likelihood of having a long, enjoyable life. Here are a few tips for building muscle in the senior years.
1. Address Dietary Needs
To build muscle mass, 15 to 25 percent of daily calories should consist of protein. However, the type of protein included must be lean meats and poultry, along with fish to gain omega-3 fatty acids. An aging body also needs carbohydrates for energy. Options include brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Include dairy in the form of low-fat milk, cheeses, or yogurt. This combination of foods is essential to provide fiber and vitamin C as well as vitamin D and calcium, which are necessary to ensure strong bones and connective tissues. Seniors should resist the urge to consume bread, pasta, or rice in abundance. These choices are likely to cause fatigue and overall weakness.
2. Stay Hydrated
The body needs anywhere from 90 to 125 ounces of fluid each day while following a regular workout regimen. Cells and tissues absorb the fluid, which enhances digestion and hastens the transport of nutrients to body systems. Adequate fluid levels also lubricate the joints and muscles. Water is the ideal fluid. However, fruit-flavored water and juices are also acceptable.
3. Warm Up and Cool Down
It’s important for seniors to take the time to warm up for approximately 15 minutes before starting a workout. For instance, your loved one can take a trip around the block, walk indoors from room to room, or use a treadmill. A simple walk is a great way to get the blood pumping and muscles warmed. Performing a series of stretching exercises is another option. After the workout routine, it’s equally necessary to allow the body to gradually cool down. Walking and stretching can reduce the heart rate while normalizing the respiration rate.
Some aging adults need help to get the exercise they need, and the amount of assistance required can vary, from occasional to around the clock. Coast Care Partners will work with you to create a customized plan for your needs, from hourly to 24-hour care. La Mesa families can rely on our caregivers to prepare nutritious meals, assist their loved ones with exercise and mobility, provide medication reminders, and help with a wide variety of other important everyday activities.
4. Choose the Right Workout Options
Strength training by weight lifting is one of the more popular means of building muscle. However, the weights don’t need to be extremely heavy. Seniors can start out by using lightweight dumbbells and ankle weights on a 15-minute walk. As seniors gain strength, they may increase the walking time and distance. Some older adults might prefer working out in a gym using free weights or weight machines. Cycling and swimming are options that also offer cardiac benefits while building muscle. Both options are also gentle on weight-bearing joints.
5. Stay Safe
When first starting out, seniors must be careful not to push themselves further than their bodies can tolerate. Older adults who become dizzy or short of breath should stop, sit, and allow time to recover. An aging body is more likely to experience injury. Thus, seniors must start slowly and gradually increasing the intensity of their workouts when their bodies become accustomed to the routines.
Some aging adults may need help choosing healthy foods and getting the exercise they need to stay strong in the golden years. With the help of a caregiver from Coast Care Partners, your senior loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. As a leading provider of La Mesa in-home care, we assist seniors by encouraging them to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. Call us today at 619-354-2544 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with compassion and exceptional professionalism.