Maintaining Strength As We Age

December 22, 2021

Have you ever woke up and said to yourself, “I feel so weak today”?  If so, you are not alone.  As we age we generally experience a loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength.  While this is a normal part of aging, for those of us with physical disabilities and comorbidities such as diabetes and obesity, this normal loss of strength can become extreme and is then classified as Sarcopenia. 

Sarcopenia is a condition characterized by a significant loss of skeletal muscle mass and function and is correlated with physical disability, poor quality of life and death.  Risk factors for this syndrome include conditions such as malignancy, rheumatoid arthritis and aging.  This loss in muscle mass can also be associated with increased body fat so that despite normal weight, there is marked weakness.  

The question is, how do we maintain strength and muscle as we age?  The answer is simple, diet and exercise!  However, diet does not always mean reducing food intake!  Diet also means selecting high quality protein foods that help build and maintain muscle mass.  For example..

How Much Protein Do I Need Per Day? Ex: 150 lb person = 68 Kgs

Sedentary Adult: 1.2 – 1.8 grams per Kg of body weight per day 81g – 122g

Health/Active Adult: 1.5-2.0 grams per Kg of body weight per day 102g – 136g

High Protein Foods (Plant and Animal Based)

Fish: 3 oz = 21g Tofu: 3 oz = 15g Peanuts: ½ cup = 16g

Chicken: 3 oz = 21g Yogurt: 3 oz = 8g Potatoes: skin = 8g

Turkey: 3 oz = 21g Peanut Butter: 2 tbsp = 8g Broccoli: stalk = 4 g

Beef: 3 oz = 21 g Eggs: 2 = 13g Chia Seeds: 1 tbsp = 2 g

Milk: 8 oz = 8 g Chickpeas: ½ cup = 7g Quinoa: 1 cup = 8 g

In order to stay strong, we need to be providing our body healthy sources of nutrients to pull from.  These high protein foods are rich in Branched Chain Amino Acids, which help build and maintain skeletal muscle.