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Why Am I Losing Strength in My Legs?

As adults get older, we often have to start adapting to biological changes that can pose a health risk if left unaddressed. Whether that means improving your diet, starting an exercise routine, or taking medication, odds are you’ve been forced to tweak your lifestyle to accommodate these issues. Although many of the health problems that appear with age can’t be eliminated in their entirety, others can be greatly mitigated or even reversed, if the proper steps are taken. For instance, many seniors report a lack of strength or steadiness in their limbs, and particularly in their legs, which is often the result of a condition called sarcopenia. If your or someone you know has recently wondered, “Why am I losing strength in my legs?”, keep reading as the experts at ENU – makers of protein shakes for seniors – discuss this topic at length.

Common Reasons Why People Lose Strength in Their Legs

If you’ve noticed that your legs have lost strength recently, don’t be alarmed; there are a number of possible causes, many of which are relatively minor. The following are some of the most common reasons why people find themselves losing strength in their legs:

Sarcopenia

It’s no secret that as we get older, we tend to gradually lose strength and muscle mass, not only in our legs but also in other areas with skeletal muscle. This natural decline in musculature is called sarcopenia, and it may be the most common reason why seniors lose strength in their legs. Fortunately, sarcopenia is also the simplest to treat; we’ll discuss how to do so in the next section.

Cachexia

While sarcopenia is the natural result of aging, cachexia is the result of a serious ailment, and it’s therefore a more serious issue. Individuals of every age often find themselves steadily losing strength when battling an illness like cancer, which is why proper nutrition for cancer patients is essential. Because its causes are so complex and difficult to treat, there may be little that can be done to help someone who is losing strength in their legs because of cachexia.

Sciatica

A widespread issue for older adults is sciatica, the medical term for pain in your lower back caused by a pinched nerve. Although discomfort is the most common sensation in those with sciatica, numbness and weakness in the legs are also frequently experienced. If the nerve causing the issue continues to be compressed, that weakness could last a while.

Inactivity

As hard as we try, a lack of physical activity is often one result of getting older, but without proper exercise, our bodies will start to treat our muscles as expendable. At that point, a loss of strength in the arms and legs is only a matter of time, which is why it’s important to engage in regular exercise – even light exercise – as you age.

How to Stop the Loss of Strength in Your Legs

While a loss of strength in your legs is a natural part of aging, that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. Many of the same strategies that help younger people bulk up and build muscle can be employed to stop or even reverse muscle wasting caused by conditions like sarcopenia, even if the underlying causes of that ailment can’t be fixed directly.

In a nutshell, the task of restoring strength in your legs will require making two main changes in your lifestyle: adding more protein to your diet and getting more exercise. We’ll cover each of these points below.

Adding Protein

For a number of reasons, getting enough protein can be a very difficult task for older adults, which is why so many fail to meet their Recommended Daily Allowance of protein – about a third of a gram per pound of body weight. Protein plays a number of important roles in the body, and it’s especially crucial for muscle health; it’s a nutrient that both preserves existing muscle tissue and helps to build new muscle.

If you’re struggling with a loss of strength in your legs, protein is key. Try to get about half a gram of protein per pound of body weight each day, as you’ll need it to form the foundation of new muscle tissue. Also, ask your doctor about the benefits of a protein shake for weight gain or muscle growth, as they can help you reach your goal more easily.

Getting Exercise

Many older adults see exercise as something in their past, but regular physical activity is hugely important for your overall health, no matter your age. This is doubly true for those who are losing strength.

By engaging in a type of exercise called progressive resistance training – which entails training with little to no weight, then slowly building up the amount you use – you can encourage your body to start making more muscle tissue, improving the strength of your legs in the process. Just be sure to run any new diet or exercise regimen by your doctor before adding it to your lifestyle, and you may want to work with a physical trainer to develop a routine that’s safe and effective for you.

Try an ENU Protein Shake for Older Adults and Start Regaining Strength in Your Legs

Making any change to your lifestyle can be tough, but with the help of nutrition shakes from ENU, getting more protein in your diet doesn’t have to be. Just enjoy one of our meal replacement shakes in place of a snack or small lunch, or add one after dinner for a boost of calories and nutrients. Learn more about all the benefits of ENU shakes and nutritional powders by visiting us online or calling (855) 266-6733 today.

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