Recently on the blog, I introduced the phenomenon of malnutrition in the elderly and the repercussions it had for muscle loss (see here) as someone who is very much concerned about this in respect to my own mum.
Now that we are all up to speed on the fact that this is happening right here in the UK and that approximately 1 in 10 people aged over 65 are malnourished, and what that means for those experiencing it, it’s time to talk action.
As with most things in life, the first step in dealing with this issue is to recognise the problem by following these simple I-CARE steps from Abbott and The Patient’s Association when it comes to your loved ones:
In tandem with that, we need to take action for muscle health, and that means the following things:
Maintaining a balanced diet & feeding your muscles
Proper nutrition and a balanced diet are one of the best ways to take charge of your muscle health. We should be responsible for knowing exactly what nutrients an adult needs in their diet to support their muscles, energy and strength as they age, which this chart breaks down perfectly:
Source: Nourish Your Muscles as You Age: The Science of Strength for Healthy Living. Abbott 2016
Talking to your healthcare professional
Whether we’re working on maintaining healthy muscles or helping a loved one to recover from illness or surgery, regular conversations with our healthcare professionals on how we can combat natural or illness-related muscle loss are crucial when it comes to keeping our loved ones strong and healthy. We need to start the dialogue and keep it open.
Exercising muscles with resistance training
Ageing muscles respond to exercise, particularly of the resistance variety which has been proven to be one of the best ways to increase muscle mass and strength in the elderly. This has to go hand in hand with good nutrition for all adults over the age of 55 for as long as they are capable. Unfortunately this does require a fair bit of badgering of our loved ones to make this happen! Don’t forget that daily walks also help tone muscles whether that means taking the stairs, a walk in a nearby park or getting off the bus stop early to factor in an additional walk.
So now that we know that frailty can be prevented by nourishing our muscles, and exactly how we should go about making that happen both for our loved ones and our future selves, it’s time to go forth and be the very best nutritional champion you can be!
*I have been sponsored by Abbott to become an advocate for my mum’s nutritional health, however all opinions are my own.