Everyone loses muscle strength as they get older, and that's a normal part of aging... right?
Well, yes and no.
Let me explain.
No matter how old you are, your muscle tissue--like all other tissues--continuously breaks down. But like other tissues, it can be built back up.
When you're young, that rebuilding comes naturally with the general activity of life, and it's enhanced, of course, with exercise. But as people age, many of them stop being active. They don't go to the gym. They barely get off the couch. So they don't do what's necessary to rebuild the muscle tissue they are losing.
Over time, they lose so much muscle mass they have trouble even with everyday activities like climbing stairs, opening jars and carrying bags of groceries.
The good news is there is no reason that anyone of any age can't continue to build new muscle. It just takes a bit of effort.
My first suggestion is to add leucine to your diet. This is an amino acid that helps aid muscle buildup, especially in older people. The best way to get more leucine is to eat more meat as part of a low-carb, high-fat and high-cholesterol diet. Think Atkins. Leucine supplements are also available, but I recommend you take them in addition to a high-meat diet rather than by themselves.
The next thing to do is take creatine. This amino acid has been researched heavily and has been shown to increase muscle mass. It too is available in supplement form. Taking 250mg once a day is a recommended dosage.
The third thing to do is exercise. But you don't need to kill yourself at the gym. Just take a walk every day. Walk for 30 minutes or so, and if you don't have that much time all at once, break it up into two 15-minute walks or three 10-minute walks. Walking helps build muscle mass, and adding weight training helps even more. Again, no need to overdue it. Simple squats, toe-raises and biceps curls with five-pound weights, done twice a day, will do the trick.
Finally, have a blood test to check your serum testosterone levels, as testosterone increases muscle mass. But your natural levels of testosterone tend to drop after you hit age 50. If a blood test confirms that your testosterone is below 500 micrograms (mcg), consider testosterone injections. Getting 100mcg once a month will help bring your levels back to 500mcg or higher.
Be sure to clear all these treatments with a reputable doctor who is familiar with alternative treatments. Once you get the go-ahead, you'll be doing the right things to keep your muscles strong and your lifestyle active for many years to come.
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