Last Updated on December 28, 2021 by Andrew Blakey
Age related muscle loss
Age related muscle loss is something that begins to occur to many of us after our 40’s and 50’s. In fact, it begins to occur at the rate of a loss of strength of around 3% per year. YIKES.
Now exercise is just one of the things we can do to drastically combat this age related muscle loss. It’s one of the best ways to prevent muscle loss due to aging. Whether it’s a doctor, a friend, or a family member who has told us that we need to stay in shape, somehow we still manage to ask ourselves… “What’s the worst that could happen?”.
Somehow we always think of an excuse that prevents us from doing the little things that add up. “I’ll go for that walk after dinner”, “I’m too tired after work”, or the most common excuse “I’ll start exercising tomorrow”. Here’s a spoiler – Tomorrow never comes.
I understand, a full day of work is exhausting! There’s nothing you want more after a long day then to sit down on the couch and relax. It’s when we start to make this a daily occurrence, that it becomes a habit, and this can wreak havoc on your health and help speed up the muscle loss due to aging.
Why Does It Matter?
Muscle is something that everyone wants. Whether it’s for aesthetic reasons, or simply so that you can lift more weight than your buddies, it takes work.
Muscle does much more then just that. It is what allows us to go out and spend time playing with our children. It’s what allows us to get up, go for a hike, and enjoy all the beautiful things around us. It’s what makes us able to go to the beach to swim and play with our friends.
I’ve listed all these different activities that make us happy but what do they all have in common? They’re all in the present. They are all things that muscle helps us do right now.
The thing is, when we build muscle it helps us in so many more ways then just being happy right now. The muscle we gain now, determines how we live later. Let me explain a bit more about age related muscle loss and sarcopenia.
Muscle Loss And Sarcopenia
Sarcopenia. It’s a word that sounds like a nasty disease; but it’s happening to all of us right this very minute (well, if you’re over 30 anyhow). “From birth till about the age 30, our muscles and bones are getting larger and stronger“. For the next 10-20 years we’re slowly losing muscle mass, and then it really kicks in at age 50. You’re sitting there thinking “okay, great, so what happens once I turn 50?”. Well what happens next isn’t so great.
According to a scientific journal created specifically on muscle wasting and sarcopenia, we lose about 1-2% of our muscle mass per year, and 1.5% of our strength. That means that by the time we turn 60 we’ve lose 10-20% of our muscle, and 15% of our strength. Think it can’t get worse? Wrong. After we turn 60 we start losing 3% per year in both!
With decrease muscle and decrease strength we increase our likelihood of falls and injuries. We are also unable to do some of the things that we love: like go for a hike with our friends! Age related muscle loss is inevitable, but what can you do?
What Can You Do To Prevent Muscle Loss Due To Aging?
I want to help you live a high quality of life for as long as possible. One of the ways to combat Sarcopenia and age related muscle loss, is through getting started with structured resistance training. If we can gain muscle now it will allow us a larger buffer for muscle loss as we age. Structured resistance training also slows the effect of sarcopenia and age related muscle loss allowing us to do all the things we love longer into the aging process!
An hour of training a couple times a week is just enough to save you hours in combating injuries, sickness, and falls as you age. What a great investment in your health. Here are 3 things you can do TODAY to help slow the process.
Make Fitness A Part Of Your Life
For many people they have a set image of what fitness and working out looks like in their head. I encourage you to go outside your comfort zone and sign up for a session of personal training or fitness class at your closest gym. For many people once they experience a real training session, they realize that it is nothing like that they expected.
For many people, their workouts are the highlight of their weeks!
Working out helps to slow the process related to sarcopenia. If you’re not in your 40’s and 50’s yet, it’s up to you to begin building muscle strength now, so that you have a larger buffer when you get older!
Proper Nutrition To Slow Muscle Loss Due To Aging
When we neglect to eat how our body needs to in order to function properly, we are setting it up for failure.
Without proper nutrition in the form of enough protein and calories (among other things), we make it extremely hard for it to get stronger as well as keep the muscle we already have.
When we sleep, our body essentially goes into repair mode. Repairing tissues, restoring energy, and an entire host of other vitally important tasks. Proper sleep isn’t negotiable, when you neglect the proper amount of sleep you’re making it extremely difficult for your body to do the things it needs to in order to keep you in peak condition.
Haehling, S. V., Morley, J. E., & Anker, S. D. (2010, December). An overview of sarcopenia: Facts and numbers on prevalence and clinical impact. Retrieved May 17, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3060646/#!po=6.25000
Sarcopenia With Aging. (2006). Retrieved May 17, 2018, from https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/guide/sarcopenia-with-aging#1