The process of losing muscle mass is one of the negative effects of aging. How can we intervene?
experts call it sarcopenia. It is a process, in many cases physiological, which starts already around the age of 20 — and in women, it has a peak in conjunction with the menopause — which causes a reduction in strength and muscle mass here (the drop is, on average, 0.5% per year).
This is a phenomenon that cannot be stopped, but certainly, we can intervene in order to slow it down, with the right amount of physical activity and with the correct intake of proteins. Proteins are essential elements for maintaining muscle mass and strength and you must be able to choose those of high biological value, such as those found in milk, fish, meat, and eggs.
Be careful, however, not to exceed with the consumption of proteins: an accumulation of these substances can overload the liver and kidneys. Better to follow the most recent indications provided by Efsa — the European Food Safety Authority, on PRI (reference intake quantities for the population) for each category: for adults, including the elderly, they are perfect 0.83 g per kg of body weight per day, which is a 75 kg man translates into 62.25 grams of protein per day and in a 65 kg woman in 53.95 grams per day.
Proper diet and regular physical activity are the two must to counteract the phenomenon of loss of muscle mass. A study conducted at the University of Aberdeen, for example, has found that consuming fish oil, combined with physical exercises with weights, can be of great help in preventing muscle breakdown, especially in the elderly population.
As explained by the survey coordinator, Stuart Gray, women who followed the training program for 12 weeks and consumed the indicated quantities of fish oil showed a 20% increase in muscle strength, compared to 11% of the women of the CONTROL GROUP.
And prevention starts at a young age.
Researchers from the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University have found that resistance exercises promote stem cell production in the muscles and ensure the maintenance of muscle mass.
This explains, therefore, why people who have practiced physical activity for a lifetime age better.