thought growing old would take longer," a friend of mine
laughed. But boy, did I realize her meaning as I chased my
two-year old granddaughter around recently.
older isnít for sissies. Case in point: Starting as early as
age 45, muscle mass begins to decline at a rate of about 1
percent a year, according to researchers at Jean Mayer USDA
Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.
This leads to a gradual loss of strength ó a condition
called "sarcopenia." And much of this condition is
tied to inadequate protein in the diet and inadequate exercise
in the lifestyle, say these experts.
research suggests that the current recommendation for protein
intake (0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight for healthy
adults) may not be quite enough to prevent loss of muscle mass
as we age. When protein is not sufficient, the body begins to
break down its own tissue to supply for vital needs. The
result is a loss of muscle tone and strength, say nutrition
studies have found that aging bodies are better able to retain
muscle strength when we eat approximately 20 to 30 grams of
protein at each meal. (For comparison: 3 ounces of fish,
chicken or meat contains about 21 grams of protein; beans and
legumes, approximately 15 grams per cup; milk or soy
beverages, 8 grams per cup; 1 egg, 7 grams; vegetables, 2 to 3
grams per cup.)
(especially resistance or strength training) is the other side
of the equation to prevent frailty as age, say Tufts
researchers. Keep pumping those muscles 30 minutes to an hour
a day, they suggest.
remember, another friend reminded me, "Until the age of
25, you have the face that your mother gave you. From 25 to
50, you have the face that you have created. From 50 onward,
you have the face that you deserve!"
more reminder for us young at heart: August 28 was Senior Day
at the Monterey County Fair. My friend, Nick Nicholson from
the Carmel Host Lions Club, and his group were there to
provide free vision, hearing and diabetes screenings.
way, this is the same Nick "the slave driver" who
cracked the whip on us volunteers in his food tent for many
years of Pebble Beach golf tournaments.
credit, Nickís dedication helped earn money for the Carmel,
Calif., Youth Center. And as I recall, Nick, each time your
name (Nick) appears in the media, you (Nick) are required to
put a certain amount of money into the kitty at your next Lionís
for helping make growing old take a little longer.