Why You Need to Maintain Your Muscle Mass
What’s the deal with muscle mass?
One of the most important things we need to do as we age is maintain our muscle mass. Having enough muscle is essential for everyday strength, balance and mobility. It also reduces the risk of falls and fractures. Falls and fractures contribute to the most common cause of hospital admission for the elderly in Australia, and a lot of these people never regain their independence!
Your muscle mass is so important, having enough of it has also shown to help reduce the risk of some diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Unfortunately, with all the fun things that come along with ageing, loss of muscle mass is one of them. After the age of 40, you naturally lose 1% of your muscle mass per year.
Dont worry, we’re not saying you need to have bulging biceps!
With regular exercise and the right nutrition, you can maintain enough muscle mass to have a high quality of life as you get older and a lower diseases risk. This means you will also reduce your risk of the depression that can accompanies illness, hospitalisation and loss of independence as you age. Keep reading to see how you can maintain your muscle mass to help you live a happier and longer life!
Resistance exercise like our cross-training classes, and body weight-bearing activities like our yoga classes are perfect for building and strengthening your muscles. Aim for these types of activities at least 3 times a week. Additional movements like walking and climbing up the stairs are also good for your muscles and cardiovascular system. Try to move your body everyday. When stairs are available, take them!
Eating enough protein
Exercise needs to be accompanied with eating the right foods. Food high in protein is an essential requirement for building muscles mass.
How much protein do I need?
Men should be having 0.84g of protein per kg of their body weight and women, 0.75g of protein per kg of body weight, per day. See the table below to get an idea of approximately how much protein men and women need per day based on their weight. Look at your weight and how much protein should you be eating.
How do I know how much protein I’m eating?
See the next table below to get an idea of how much protein is in some regular foods. You will see it’s pretty easy to get enough protein if you’re eating a healthy balanced diet. Other foods like grains and vegetables have small amounts of protein in them too, so if you’re eating a variety of healthy foods every day, you should be covered.
Check out this week’s recipe full of beans, a vegetarian source of protein, to help build and maintain those muscles!
Serves: 4 Time: 25 mins Cost: $12 approx. ($3 per serve)
- 1 pack of microwave brown rice (or 2 cups cooked brown rice)
- 2 cans beans (we used kidney and black beans)
- 1 can diced tomato
- ½ red onion
- 1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
- 1 red capsicum
- 1 large zucchini (or 2 small)
- ½ tsp chilli powder (we used Mexican chilli powder)
- 1 TBSP paprika
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed (3 tsp crushed garlic)
- extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper
Serve with any of these options:
- fresh lime
- smashed avocado
- low fat cheese
- low fat sour cream
- Prepare rice as per packet instructions, put aside
- Dice onion, capsicum and courgette
- Heat olive oil in pan on medium heat, add onion, saute for 1 min
- Add capsicum, zucchini and garlic, cook for 8 mins
- Add paprika and chilli, cook for 1 min
- Stir through canned tomatoes and rice, cook further 5 mins,
- Stir through beans and corn, cook further 2 mins
- Season with salt & pepper
- Serve with your chosen options – we used fresh lime, coriander and smashed avocado!