Tips to Slow Down Age-Related Muscle Loss
Let’s face it, as we age our bodies start to break down and one way that happens is through loss of muscle mass, strength and function. For most of us, loss of muscle starts happening in our 30’s and although the rate of decline varies from person to person, experts believe that we may lose anywhere between 3 and 5 percent of muscle mass each decade.
Age-related muscle loss is a naturally occurring condition known officially as age-related Sarcopenia. According to the National Institutes of Health, Sarcopenia, or the decline of skeletal muscle tissue with age, is one of the most important causes of functional decline and loss of independence in older adults.
Although Sarcopenia is most commonly seen in inactive people, the condition can also affect those who remain physically active throughout their lives, although typically the impact is less severe. One thing we do know from studies is that Sarcopenia does accelerate the older we get. This acceleration process usually occurs between the ages of 65 and 75.
So is there anything that can be done to slow this process down as we age?
Fortunately, there is, and it’s called exercise. More specifically, exercise that involves muscle resistance training such as lifting weights, doing pushups or exercising with resistance bands. With resistance training the muscle is being asked to do something it is not accustomed to doing. The body responds by repairing or replacing damaged muscle fibers to form new muscle protein strands or myofibrils. In other words, it builds new muscle.
In addition to adding some resistance training to your daily regimen, it also helps to stay active with regular activities such as walks, runs, tennis, cycling, swimming, yoga or even Tai Chi. Also make sure you eat a well-balanced diet and are getting enough protein.
Not only will the exercise help with age-related muscle loss, it can provide may other health benefits as well. And who knows, you might have fun doing it!
See your doctor or medical professional before starting any workout regimen.