Mus­cle mass needs at­ten­tion as you age

Waitaki Herald - - YOUR HEALTH -

Q: How can I avoid putting on ex­cess weight as I get older? Re­gards, Mer­ri­lyn

A: Most peo­ple will tell you that you have to lose weight to be healthy, but I be­lieve the op­po­site is true; you have to be healthy to lose weight (or main­tain the weight that is right for you).

This means tak­ing care of your­self – nour­ish­ing your body with nu­tri­tious whole foods and avoid­ing pro­cessed foods, get­ting hon­est with your­self about how much al­co­hol and caf­feine you drink, mov­ing your body reg­u­larly, and manag­ing your per­cep­tion of pres­sure and ur­gency (stress).

Af­ter the age of 30 we be­gin to lose mus­cle mass as we age, un­less we do some­thing to main­tain (or prefer­ably build) it.

Our ra­tio of mus­cle to fat mass greatly im­pacts our meta­bolic rate. If you have a higher pro­por­tion of mus­cle mass, your body uses more en­ergy (calo­ries) sim­ply to sus­tain th­ese mus­cles – and this can ul­ti­mately lead to less body fat be­ing stored. ring true for you, and you feel en­er­gised and up­lifted at the end of your high-in­ten­sity ex­er­cise and you love do­ing it, that’s great – keep go­ing with it. In­ter­val train­ing is a bet­ter choice for main­tain­ing mus­cle mass and us­ing body fat than a straight out high-in­ten­sity work­out.

To help guide move­ment habits, I en­cour­age peo­ple to think about what they want from it – you want to have a func­tional body that al­lows you to move through your day with ease, you want to have the strength to carry your gro­ceries and your chil­dren (or grand­chil­dren), you want to have the flex­i­bil­ity to bend down and tie your shoelaces, and you want to feel up­lifted, not de­pleted. ❚ Dr Libby is a nu­tri­tional bio­chemist, best-sell­ing au­thor and speaker. The ad­vice con­tained in this col­umn is not in­tended to be a sub­sti­tute for di­rect, personalised ad­vice from a health pro­fes­sional. Join Dr Libby in Christchurch for one week­end to change your life: Novem­ber 25 and 26. More info at dr­libby.com

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