Some loss of muscle mass and strength is common as you get older. The medical term for this is sarcopenia. Your muscle strength generally peaks in your 20s and starts to slowly decline in your 30s. A rapid decline then begins after age 60.
Lack of muscle tone and strength can lead to increasing difficulty with everyday tasks, decreased balance and increased risk of falls, and decreased bone density. It may also lead to slower metabolism, leading to weight gain.
It’s never too late to fight flabbiness, according to the March issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource. Much, if not most, of the decrease in muscle mass that occurs with age appears to be related to reduced physical activity. If you exercise, you can maintain significant muscle mass well into your later years.
Your doctor or a fitness expert can provide exercise options to strengthen all muscle groups. At home, exercises with elastic resistance bands, small dumbbells or even cans of vegetables can be effective. Weight training using equipment at a health club is beneficial, too.
In addition to exercising, aim for nutritious, well-balanced meals. Don’t forget to include sources of protein — lean meats, legumes and nuts — which are key to building strong muscles.