Muscle Loss And Aging

Discover lifestyle and nutrition tips to help you stay healthy and strong as you age.

It’s important to keep in mind all year long that proper nutrition and an active lifestyle are important factors to staying healthy and increasing overall well-being. A good diet and regular exercise help keep muscles, bones and organs strong, boost energy levels and support our immune system.

General evidence shows that the majority of aging adults do not meet key nutrient intake levels recommended for a healthy and active life. When it comes to nutrition, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and feed our body enough of the right nutrients to stay strong. Protein and certain essential vitamins and minerals are especially important in reducing age-related muscle loss and keeping us fueled.

Muscle Loss and Aging

Many people don’t realize, but as we age, we naturally lose muscle mass. In fact, starting at age 40, adults lose on average eight percent of muscle mass each decade, and the rate of loss increases to 15 percent per decade after the age of 70.1-5

Abbott has been studying muscle health for more than a decade. We’ve seen the impact that the loss of muscle has on people’s energy, ability to recover and overall quality of life. That’s why we've taken our advanced science and developed targeted, specialized nutrition to help rebuild muscle and strength naturally lost over time* in therapeutic nutrition products such as Ensure®.

Lifestyle and Nutrition Tips

It’s never too late to reduce muscle loss and adopt better habits. To make sure that your lifestyle and diet supports healthy aging, consider these expert nutrition tips:

  1. To maintain muscle, increase your protein intake (1.2 g/kg body weight/day) to at least 25 g per meal. Meat, dairy products and eggs are excellent protein sources. Consider supplementing your diet with vitamin D—at least 800 IU per day. Certain fishes and exposure to sunlight can help maintain an adequate level of vitamin D.
  2. If you have a busy schedule or have trouble getting all your daily nutrients, consider adding a balanced oral nutritional supplement to your diet at breakfast or as a mid-day snack.
  3. Exercise is essential for the health of muscles. Aim for three workouts per week, including resistance training, to help to reduce muscle loss. For individuals with chronic conditions, please consult your physician before starting any exercise program.
  4. Remember that daily walks also help tone your muscles: Get off the bus one stop early and walk to your destination, take the stairs or walk in a nearby park.
  5. Drink at least 1.5 liters of water per day unless your doctor recommends that you limit your water intake.
  6. Bear in mind that your regular doctor is your ally, and paying regular visits (at least once per year for people over 50) is important for maintaining proper health.

For more information about maintaining healthy muscles and to read more tips, visit

1. Evans WJ. Protein nutrition, exercise and aging. J Am Coll Nutr 2004; 23:601S-609S.

2. Grimby G et al. Morphology and enzymatic capacity in arm and leg muscles in 78-81 year old men and women. Acta Physiol Scand. 1982 ;115 :125-34.

3. Grimby G, Saltin B. The Aging Muscle. Clin Physiol. 1983; 3(3):209-218.

4. Larsson L, et al. Muscle strength and speed of movement in relation to age and muscle morphology. J Appl Physiol.1979 ;46 :451-456.

5. Janssen I, et al. Skeletal muscle mass and distribution in 468 men and women aged 18-88 yr. J Appl Physiol. 2000; 89:81-88.