As a person ages, they lose muscle mass. While muscles continue to grow and get stronger until about the age of 30, after that, it’s not uncommon for many people to lose muscle mass each decade. And if your elderly loved one is over 75, it can happen at quite a quick rate.
Strong muscles are important for independence and quality of life. Without strong muscles, your loved one may find his stamina is greatly reduced and he can’t enjoy the activities he used to do. It can also cause weakness, making chores and activities harder to complete without injury.
Luckily, building up muscle mass can continue throughout your loved one’s life. It may take a bit of work, but in the end, it is worth it. Here are some of the top ways to build muscle mass, strength, and stamina.
Since beginning a program like strength training may seem a little daunting at first, having a home care physical therapy provider who can come to your loved one’s home is a great way to begin and ensure that your parent stays safe while beginning his strength training. One of the reasons many elderly are afraid to try strength training is the fear of injuring themselves or making a chronic condition like arthritis worse. A trained home physical therapy expert can make sure your loved one starts slow enough and learns how to safely and effectively use strength training to improve his endurance as well as his strength.
For most seniors, strength training will involve both free weight and machine training that works to strengthen both the upper and lower body. It is a good idea to alternate between different body parts when working out, and to work out at least three days a week but your home physical therapist will help your loved one determine the right schedule for him.
Resistance training can help your neuromuscular system and hormones. It also can work to improve an older adult’s ability to convert protein to energy in as little as two weeks. Converting that protein will help him improve the length of how long he can perform certain tasks.
The proper number, intensity, and frequency of resistance exercises will be important for your loved one to get the most benefit with the least risk of injury. Having him work directly with an experienced physical therapist or trainer to develop an exercise plan will make sure he builds a plan that is sustainable and customized for him.
While most doctors will prefer exercise to improve muscle mass, some medications can help improve muscle mass such as hormone supplements and testosterone. They often come with side effects so your loved one will need to be routinely checked for any unwanted side effects.
Eating a diet rich in protein, yet still lean is great to help the body have the nutrients it needs to build muscles. Have your parent increase the lean fish and meat he is eating, and think about adding more legumes, Greek yogurt, and whole grains to his diet.
Just as it takes time to lose muscle mass, it also takes time to build it back up. Have patience and persistence as you work with your loved one to increase his muscle mass.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Physical Therapy in Denton, TX please contact the caring staff at Ardent Healthcare today. 469-293-1515