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More than skin deep: preventing the unseen signs of aging

(ARA) – From wrinkle cream to hair dye and everything in between, some people go to great lengths to disguise the signs of aging. However, despite the wisdom that comes with getting older, we often overlook the less visible signs of age, like everyday activities becoming more difficult, which can have a more significant impact our lives than a few gray hairs.

Muscle loss can occur as young as age 40, causing weakness or lack of energy that may force people to give up or cut back on activities they once enjoyed – from golfing to gardening to keeping up with their children or grandchildren. But the good news, according to muscle health experts, is that muscle loss can not only be prevented, but even reversed, allowing people to stay active and vibrant.

“Getting older is a fact of life, so we should take action now to protect our muscles so we can stay healthy as we age,” says Dr. Vonda Wright, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine for adults over age 40. “Strong muscles help people continue doing the things they love. Taking steps today to protect and strengthen our muscles can keep us active and independent, leading to a greater quality of life down the road.”

Dr. Wright offers her expert tips on how to take charge of your muscle health:

* Get a move on: Even if you’re completely new to exercising, daily activity is important and there’s no better time to get active than right now. Start out with the basics, like taking daily walks around your neighborhood. Once that becomes a habit, switch up your routine with other light activities. Daily exercise can also reduce the risks for diabetes, breast cancer, heart conditions and even depression.

* Take the muscle test: Test yourself and see just how strong you are. There are many simple, at-home tests you can do to measure the strength of your muscles. For instance, do as many pushups as possible until exhaustion to test your upper body strength. For average 40-somethings, men should be able to complete 21 to 28 pushups and women should complete 18 to 24 modified pushups.

* Feed your muscles: Regular activity is only one ingredient in a recipe for better muscle health. Make sure you’re eating a balanced diet that includes protein, fiber and brightly colored fruits and vegetables. And there’s something new to help rebuild muscle strength:  new Ensure (R) Muscle Health, specially designed to help rebuild muscle and strength naturally lost over time. It has 13 grams of protein and Revigor (TM) (a source of HMB), a naturally occurring amino acid metabolite that comes from protein. Revigor can help protect muscle cells, preserve muscle tissue and promote muscle growth so you can keep doing the things you love.

* Use it or lose it: The old adage is true. Muscles can deteriorate with time if you don’t use them regularly, leaving you feeling weak. But there is good news: Studies show that muscle atrophy from inactivity is reversible no matter your age, so the more you use your muscles, the stronger they’ll be.

While the aging process can’t be stopped, muscle loss can be prevented or even reversed with exercise and proper nutrition. Everyone, from weekend walkers to after-work athletes, can take simple steps now to build and maintain strong, healthy muscles and continue doing the activities they enjoy for years to come. For more information, visit www.ensure.com.

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