Study Says This Could More than Double Your Risk of Alzheimer’s
We’ve written before about a condition that is likely affecting more and more people every day that has been found to be the biggest reason people FEEL old. It’s now also been linked to a more than doubling of the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
What is it? Loss of muscle mass. That loss begins as early as age 40 in some people and intensifies after age 75. Studies say we lose 1 –2% of our muscle per year after age 50. That means we lose 30% of our muscle between ages 50 and 70.
Besides doubling the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, the loss of muscle mass also leads to mobility problems, falls and frailty.
Though we can’t stop aging (no matter how much we’d like to!), it seems we need to take steps to help maintain muscle strength as we age, in order to lower the risks of dementia and other health concerns.
What muscles are most important to keep strong? A study by Finnish researchers that included 338 men and women with an average age of 66, measured the participants’ muscle strength and also gave them a battery of cognitive tests. They found that greater upper and lower body strength was linked to better cognition. Those researchers believe nearly everyone can do some simple exercises or techniques to increase muscle strength and muscle mass, and that it is effective if done on a consistent basis.
The researchers tested the participants’ strength by measuring it as they did leg extensions, leg flexions and leg presses. Upper body exercises chest presses and seated rows. If those terms are not familiar to you, enter them in a search engine like Google or Bing, or whatever, and you will find definitions and likely videos demonstrating how to do them. Do NOT overdue any exercises when first starting with them, and if you have any medical conditions, check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Even if you don’t have any known medical conditions, you should check with your doctor to be certain your balance and other factors are okay for you to begin an exercise program, before you begin it.
For those who cannot do any exercises, or who just would like to strengthen their muscles without doing exercises, studies say there is some benefit to be had from increasing the amount of protein in your breakfast, it seems.
We need protein to build muscles so researchers decided to delve into the eating habits of 1,741 healthy men and women aged 67 to 84. They found most seniors get the majority of their protein at lunch and dinner so they decided to see if those seniors who get a good amount of protein at breakfast and thereby spread their protein intake more evenly throughout the day have greater muscle strength. They found out it did make a difference. The researchers said older people need to get more protein in every meal because they need a bigger boost in amino acids for protein synthesis.
Also, if you choose to exercise to build muscle, you still may want to add more protein to your breakfast, since it’s needed to build those muscles.