Ever heard of sarcopenia? Don’t worry – you're not the only one! According to a recent study, only 3 per cent of people over 50 have heard of it. Sarcopenia is actually age-related muscle loss, which is where our bodies start to lose muscle and tone from about the age of 45. As our muscles keep us balanced and active, this makes us gradually more prone to tiredness and even falls.
But the good news is that there are some easy ways to beat sarcopenia. To tell us how, we asked Dr Max Gowland, founder of over-50s supplement range Prime Fifty, to share his expert tips on keeping your muscles trim and tickety-boo.
1. Tin up on tuna
As you get older, your body naturally finds it harder to get all the goodness out of protein- which is exactly what your muscles really need.
So the key is to get a bit more protein on your plate- and this doesn’t have to mean beefing up on steak. Actually tuna, chicken and turkey are better sources of protein, as well containing less fat than red meat.
And if you’re a vegetarian, remember dairy products like cheese and milk are a great and easy source of high-quality protein, as is porridge.
2. Pick up a weight
This doesn't have to be ‘World’s Strongest Man’-style feats of fortitude. But just a little bit of light resistance training will help to keep your muscles nice and active.
Try grabbing a small pair of weights and using them next time you do some walking or aerobic exercise. Not only will this send your body a signal to keep producing muscle, but weight-training also speeds up your metabolism and encourages your body to burn more fat.
3. Crack some yolks
Eggs are a great source of vitamin D, which plays a very important role in keeping your muscles working well. All the vitamin D goodness is in the yolk, so whether it’s eggs and soldiers, or fried eggs sunny side up, make sure the yolk is at the heart of the action.
Other great sources of vitamin D include liver, oily fish and nutritional supplements. And don’t forget to get outdoors – sunlight triggers our bodies to make vitamin D for itself.
4. Get more sleep
Forty winks (or more!) are crucial for giving your body the chance to rest, recover and recuperate. Our muscles are no exception to this, and gradual muscle loss can leave us feeling a bit more tired than we used to get.
Stay in good nick by getting a good night’s sleep, and remember napping during the day can also help to refresh you and keep your energy levels up.
If you have trouble nodding off, why not try a natural sleep aid like camomile tea or even warm milk with honey?
5. Eat your oysters
Getting zinc into your diet is a great support for your muscle health, and you can find it in oysters, as well as in other posh seafoods like crab and lobster.
It’s also found in beans, wholegrains and nuts, along with magnesium, another key ingredient for helping your muscles tick along to keep you nice and active. Other great sources of magnesium are avocados, yoghurt and (good news) dark chocolate!
- There's more health advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.