Loss of muscle may be as important in producing aging and disability as gaining fat is. This loss of muscle is called “sarcopenia.”
Resistance training and eating more protein may slow this process down! I eat 2 scoops of whey protein powder with oatmeal and skim milk for breakfast and fish (canned wild salmon and sardines) for lunch and dinner. And I do weight/resistance training of my core and legs twice a week.
Great article in NY Times about maintaining muscle and function:
My grandmother, who lived to be almost 102, was what our family referred to as a healthy eater. She enjoyed a good meal, most of all in a restaurant, where she read the menu with gusto before settling on her standard constellation of broiled fish and a couple of vegetables.
Long after her contemporaries had retired to the television room at the nursing home where she lived, Grandma Ethel was walking laps around the building, talking to whomever happened to be around.
“Sit down in there,” she’d say warily as she passed the television room, “and you just don’t get up.”
Each decade, older adults lose about 3 percent of their lean body mass, mostly muscle, according to Dr. David Heber, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles. This incremental loss of strength, called sarcopenia, is a stealth danger, increasing the risk of hospitalization and death as the years go by.
“Resistance exercise like weight lifting and increased protein are the best tools to adjust to the loss of muscle with aging,” Dr. Heber said. “Exercise combined with adequate protein intake can lead to increases in muscle mass and performance, even in the very old.”
Adults of any age should consult with a doctor before undertaking a fitness routine or significant changes in diet. Assuming it’s appropriate, Dr. Heber said, a typical regimen might involve 30 minutes of walking each day and modest resistance training three times per week, with an emphasis on various muscle groups.