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How to prevent muscle loss

It’s summer time and it seems like everyone is going on vacation. Maybe it seems like that or it really is like that because we’ve all been cooped up for a couple years and it’s time to get out—to see family, to go on that trip that we planned three years ago, to just go SOMEWHERE else.

While on vacation remember that, at least in part, the reason you exercise is so that you can enjoy traveling: learning about new places, sampling the food, meeting or reconnecting with interesting people, and to not be limited by your physical ability (or disability). So, while it’s important to prioritize enjoyment, it’s also not a time to slack off.

After the age of 30 (!) muscle mass decreases 3-8 percent per decade and the decline becomes much more rapid after age 60. Did you know that even just two days of inactivity can result in muscle loss? After a week of sitting on the beach, you could be in full muscle atrophy—losing as much as 5% of your muscle volume! Loss of muscle mass can lead to problems with balance, loss of stamina, and difficulty with everyday tasks. But exercise, particularly resistance training, can help mitigate this.

So, program some physical activity into your vacation. If there’s hiking involved, great. Add in some exercises that require you to use your upper body strength. If your vacation plan is mostly sedentary, find some ways to get up and about. Take a walk on the beach. Rent bikes. Consider walking into town for dinner instead of driving. At the time of day that you’d normally exercise, do a bodyweight routine. Even without weights you can get a good workout by doing various squats and push-ups. If you throw some resistance bands into your suitcase, you can do all kinds of things: rows, biceps curls, pulldowns, triceps pushdowns, etc. And don’t forget the all important core work.

A few minutes a day will help you maintain the gains you’ve worked hard to attain.

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