Many people set aside the necessary funds for retirement, but refuse to invest in their health and fitness to achieve physical independence as they age. Ask yourself this question, how much can you enjoy your retirement years if you have a lot of money, but lack physical health?
If you’re over 50, it’s time to start seriously investing in a health and fitness plan that will help protect you from the mental and physical ailments associated with aging. Beginning in your 40s and as early as 30 for some, a natural muscle loss process called sacopenia begins to occur in your body. You can lose as much as 1 to 2 pounds of muscle each year starting at age 40, and this process accelerates with age if not reduced.
Sacopenia can lead to muscle weakness, fatigue, insulin resistance, increased risk of falls, and loss of independence. These are the main things normally associated with the aging process. It’s not a pretty picture. However, you can start fighting sacopenia now and, in some cases, reverse this process through diet and exercise.
Increased protein intake and strength training are two of the most effective ways to combat muscle loss. While 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.36 grams per pound) has been the normal recommendation for daily protein intake for years. Now, many new studies show that 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.45 to 0.68 grams per pound) may be more beneficial for building, maintaining, and reducing muscle loss.
Strength training, also known as weight lifting, has been shown to be the best form of exercise to build muscle and strength, helping you maintain your independence as you age. The good news is that it is never too late to start. People over the age of 90 have been shown to gain muscle and strength on a properly designed weightlifting program. Of course, the sooner you start the better. I recommend that you do strength training 2-3 times a week starting in your forties.
Now that you see that it is just as important to invest in your health and fitness program as it is to invest in your retirement account, where do you start? I suggest you find a nationally certified fitness professional and design a custom strength training program for yourself.