One of the most common goals of exercise is building and maintaining muscle. Here are four ways to help build muscle you might not have considered.
1. Eat Right
Everyone knows that protein is an important part of building muscle. But you actually need different amounts depending on whether you're building muscles (when you need more protein) or maintaining them (when you need less). And protein isn't the be-all and end-all of a healthy diet for your muscles. You need carbohydrates and fats too. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are important sources of glycogen, which is what fuels our muscles so we can use them in the first place. Heart-healthy fats like avocados, salmon and olive oil are also important energy sources.
2. Choose the Best Exercise for Your Goals
Your workout is going to depend in part on your gender, genetics, and age. You're also going to want to choose exercise routines that are consistent and challenging. You can find strength training classes near you or look for workout videos online. See if you like bodyweight exercises and resistance bands, or if you prefer free weights or exercise machines. There isn't a wrong type of exercise.
Be sure to incorporate some form of cardiovascular activity, too. It's important to your overall health and current research suggests it plays a part in muscle growth.
3. Remember to Rest Too!
Rest is just as important to muscle growth as getting up and moving. If you don't give your body a chance to rest, it can't repair the muscles you worked. Not stretching and not resting after a workout are both very common causes of muscle injury.
4. Try a Supplement
Most people have heard of protein shakes and powders. Those are really helpful supplements to include in your diet when you're working to build muscle. But as you start to get older, that might not be enough. Lower hormone levels (testosterone and estrogen) cause muscle reduction as we age, but certain supplements can help you avoid this. For example, Sermorelin is an FDA approved supplement that stimulates Human Growth Hormone, giving you more energy and maintain muscles. If you choose to try it, your doctor should determine your Sermorelin dosage.
Exercise is a great thing for your body no matter what kind you choose to practice or why. Some people prefer cardio exercises to keep their hearts healthy, others do yoga to stay toned and limber. Lots of people practice a combination. Whatever exercise you practice, you're doing your muscles a favor.