AGING INCREASES MORE THAN THE NUMBER OF CANDLES ON YOUR BIRTHDAY CAKE. IT MAY ALSO EXPONENTIALLY INCREASE THE NUMBER OF DOLLARS YOU SPEND ON HEALTH CARE COSTS.
FORTUNATELY, MAKING THESE TWO ACTIONS DAILY HABITS WILL HELP YOU MINIMIZE THESE AGE-RELATED CHANGES AND THEIR RESPECTIVE COSTS!

Many changes take place with age.

Your job becomes a career.

Your significant other becomes your spouse.

Your fur baby becomes an older sibling to a real baby

You move from renting to owning.

And although these changes don’t take shape the same for everyone, nor at the same time, two changes that you can count on are a reduction in muscle mass and bone strength with each birthday celebration.

The progressive, inevitable loss of muscle mass with age is called sarcopenia and it begins to impact those who are relatively inactive around the age of 35. 1 And this loss gradually increases each year. Furthermore, after the age of 30, you begin to experience a loss in bone mineral density, which leads to weak bones and increased risk for bone breakages and injury. This phenomenon, known as osteoporosis once your bone mineral density drops below a certain point, further impacts strength and mobility, and also increases with age.

Fortunately, these detrimental changes are heavily influenced by your actions, meaning you can essentially slow, or even reverse, the consequences that ensue!

FIT HABIT #1: MAKE RESISTANCE TRAINING A HABIT

Resistance training is any form of exercise that uses a form of resistance. This includes weight training via formal exercise machines and free weights, use of resistance bands, and body weight exercises. Resistance training causes muscle damage on the cellular level, which is an impetus for your body to put for the necessary resources to repair and rebuild this muscle. Consistent resistance training leads to enhanced muscle size and is also the best method to maintain muscle mass. Furthermore, resistance training has a positive impact on bone strength and health, too.

And this is good news knowing that muscle mass and bone strength begin to decline with age. Especially because loss of muscle mass not only makes it harder for you to get around but also to play with your kids (or grand kids!).

I recommend you engage in resistance training at least three times per week. This may include attending your local CrossFit box, YMCA, or local gym, or working 1:1 with a personal trainer. What’s more important is that you find an approach you enjoy – this is the approach you’re more likely to stick with, and thus, more likely to reap the many benefits.

FIT HABIT #2: EAT MORE PROTEIN (PER MEAL AND PER DAY)

As you age, your muscle’s cellular machinery becomes resistant to protein. This means you need to eat even more to have the same effect. And because protein plays such a prominent role in initiating muscle growth and repair, you’d be foolish to forgo this added protein.

Just how much more protein do you need?

A review of several studies that examined the potential increased protein needs in the elderly published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care concluded:

“To maximize muscle protein synthesis whereas being cognizant of total energy intake, we propose a dietary plan that includes 25–30 g of high quality protein per meal.2

This is reassuring news given I recommend 25 – 35 grams of protein per meal for almost everyone. In fact, I actually give even more specific protein-distribution strategies to account for with age to help minimize the impact of sarcopenia and osteoporosis in my online nutrition education video courses, “Everything You Need To Know About Protein To Stay Fit!”

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER…

Yup, it sure is. The number I’m referring to, however, is the increasing amount you’re paying in medical costs each year…

The progressive, inevitable loss of muscle mass with age increases your risk for type 2 diabetes and weight gain, and also reduces your strength and mobility.3,4 According to a review published in the journal Health Economics, “The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illness are a staggering $190.2 billion or nearly 21% of annual medical spending in the United States.”5

Additionally, according to a review published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, “The estimated direct health care cost attributable to sarcopenia in the United States in 2000 was $18.5 billion ($10.8 billion in men, $7.7 billion in women), which represented about 1.5% of total health care expenditures for that year.”6

These two inevitable, age-related changes account for over 22 percent of the U.S. health care costs each year. That’s about 208 billion dollars.

References:

  1. Frontera, W. R., Hughes, V. A., Fielding, R. A., Fiatarone, M. A., Evans, W. J., & Roubenoff, R. (2000). Aging of skeletal muscle: a 12-yr longitudinal study. Journal of Applied Physiology, 88(4), 1321-1326.
  2. Paddon-Jones, D., Rasmussen, B. B. (2009). Dietary protein recommendations and the prevention of sarcopenia: protein, amino acid metabolism, and therapy. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 12(1), 86.
  3. Lynch, G. S. (Ed.). (2010). Sarcopenia–age-related muscle wasting and weakness: mechanisms and treatments. Springer Science & Business Media.
  4. Janssen, I., Shepard, D. S., Katzmarzyk, P. T., & Roubenoff, R. (2004). The healthcare costs of sarcopenia in the United States. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 52(1), 80-85.
  5. Cawley, J., Meyerhoefer, C. (2012). The medical care costs of obesity: an instrumental variables approach. Journal of health economics, 31(1), 219-230.

Janssen, I., Shepard, D. S., Katzmarzyk, P. T., & Roubenoff, R. (2004). The healthcare costs of sarcopenia in the United States. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 52(1), 80-85.