Losing muscle mass may occur due to prolonged inactivity, illness, injury, aging or chronic health conditions. Regaining muscle mass is beneficial for people of all ages. It improves appearance, increases strength and lowers blood pressure.
Building muscle mass also increases bone density and helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures, according to Harvard Health Publishing. You can regain muscle mass quickly by incorporating strength training into your daily routine and making a few minor dietary modifications.
For overall health and fitness, combine targeted strength training with aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming or jogging.
Reversing Muscle Loss
Ease back into exercising. You will likely be unable to return to the same level of activity and workout routine that you engaged in prior to losing muscle mass, and pushing your muscles too hard or too quickly can lead to injury and exhaustion. You want to work your muscles fully, but you must stop when you feel pain. Warm up thoroughly before working out to help prevent injury.
Read more: The 6 Rules of Gaining Muscle Mass
Focus Your Efforts
Focus on the specific muscle or muscle groups you wish to rebuild, and then target strength-training exercises to those muscles. Lifting weights is a simple way to increase arm and chest strength, and squats are beneficial to the legs and buttocks. Speak with a personal trainer or your doctor about the safest and most effective exercises for the specific muscles you want to regain.
Build a Routine
Make exercise part of your daily routine. Set aside time to work out at least three days each week. Alternate high-intensity isolation exercises with more general training sessions. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends including strengthening exercises at least three times per week.
Get Your Rest
Get more rest. While resting might seem counterproductive to regaining muscle mass, adequate rest allows your muscles time to recover between workouts, which makes strength-training more effective. Rest also ensures you will have the energy necessary to work out, and it will improve your overall health and mood.
Check Your Diet
Eat a balanced diet, and increase your daily caloric intake to meet the demands created by muscle growth and increased exercise. A varied diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meats is essential for muscle growth and health.
Read more: Eating Plan for Building Muscle & Losing Fat
Focus on Protein
Increase your protein intake by including eggs, lean meats, tofu and fish in your diet. Fortified eggs and cold-water fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients that may help regain muscle mass.
A slight increase in protein is sufficient, as eating too much protein will not help muscle growth and may increase body fat. The addition of a protein-rich snack to your daily diet is an easy way to increase your intake.
Drink Enough Water
Drink at least 64 ounces of water each day to keep your body hydrated, to help flush toxins from your system and to support muscle growth.
Talk to your doctor about muscle-building supplements to be sure they are safe for you.