Strength and muscle are your physical 401k. The analogy, however, has some relevance in real life. It turns out you actually can measure the cost of losing muscle. A team of researchers looked at healthcare costs in the United States related to sarcopenia, or muscle loss, in those over the age of 60. The researchers estimated that $18.5 billion is spent every year on an issue that is likely to worsen unless we take appropriate steps. The actual cost is real and something we all have to deal with. Getting people stronger and building more muscle saves money, improves their quality of life, fosters a sense of independence, and can improve certain health outcomes. So what can you do today to make a positive change in your life. Here are 5 things you can do to transform your life:
- Begin a strength training program. Which one should you choose? Whichever one gets you started. Aim for 2 days per week. Find one that fits your schedule, or maybe a class your friends go to. Commit to going twice per week for the next 2 weeks. Little by little it will become more habitual.
- Do a bodyweight workout at home. Bodyweight squats, lunges, push ups, and planks can all be good starting points to build the habit of training 2-3 days per week.
- Eat a little more protein: with all this training you’ll need some more protein to repair and rebuild the muscle.
- Keep a training log and make small improvements. What gets measured gets managed, as the saying goes. Keep track of the exercises you do, the sets and reps, and the weight you use. Over time make small changes: more reps, more weight, maybe an extra set. What matters is that you challenge yourself with consistent training.
- Be patient. You didn’t get where you are overnight, and you won’t get all of the results you want in a week. It’ll take time. Focus on the process and the little goals each day that will get you closer to the big goals.