Muscle mass needs attention as you age
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