5 Ways to Stay Strong as You Age

You don't have to lose strength and energy as you get older. Check out these tips for keeping muscles fit.

Did you know that people over the age of 40 may lose up to 8 percent of their muscle mass per decade? And the rate of decline may double after the age of 70.

Advanced muscle loss, or sarcopenia, affects nearly 1 in 3 people over 50 years of age. Not only are muscles important for everyday physical tasks like picking things up, reaching for something, opening a jar or getting up off a chair, but healthy muscles are essential for organ function, skin health, immunity and your metabolism.

In other words, maintaining muscle mass as you age is essential for a happy and healthy life.

"Muscle loss is the aging factor that's rarely discussed and people accept its signs, such as loss of strength and energy, as a natural part of aging," explains Suzette Pereira, Ph.D., a researcher specializing in muscle health with Abbott. "Muscle health can often predict how healthy we will be as we age and how long we will be active and independent.”

The good news is that with the right steps you can help prevent or slow muscle loss.

Check out the tips below to fuel and keep muscles fit for years to come!

1. Keep moving — Engage in regular exercise, including resistance training, to maintain muscle and strength.

2. Remember protein — Eat good sources of protein from lean meats, eggs and beans. Aim for 25-30 grams of protein at every meal.

3. Balance your plate — Choose a balanced diet full of veggies, fruits, whole grains, proteins and healthy fats.

4. Consider supplementing your diet — Consider adding a nutrition drink to your diet to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need as you age.

5. Talk to your doctor — Talk to your healthcare provider about nutrition, especially if you’re ill, hospitalized or recovering from surgery, to manage illness-related muscle loss.