Monday, July 3, 2023

Ways To Keep Your Muscles Strong As You Age.


When a person is in their twenties, they don't think about doing things to keep them in the best shape and the best health so as they hit their 40's, 50's, 60's, etc, they are in the best condition they can be.  It is well known that as people age, it becomes more difficult to gain muscle or even maintaining muscle.  In fact, it falls under the category of use it or lose it.

Many people begin to lose muscle mass beginning in their 30's. Studies indicate that most people lose three to eight percent of their muscle mass for every decade after the age of 30 and the rate increases once a person reaches the age of 60. 

It has been found that losing muscle mass can have health consequences. It is well known that people shrink as they age and if you look at who is shrinking and how much they shrink, you'll have a better idea of who gets sick, ends up in the hospital, or has difficulty taking care of oneself. 

Muscle is always being created and broken down throughout your life. There are three types of muscles in the human body.  First is the smooth muscle that lines the gut wall and organs except the heart.  The second type is cardiac muscle which is a striated muscle that covers the heart.  The last type is skeletal muscle which is a striated muscle found in the arms and legs.  It is the last type of muscle that is associated with age related muscle loss.  

As we age, we experience a decline in the number of muscle cells we have and with a decreased amount of mitochondria. The mitochondria helps produce and store energy in the muscle cells. Over time mutations occur which can cause muscles to become less stretchy.  In addition, brain signals that control muscle contraction and control can decrease causing a loss in muscle mass.

One of the biggest causes of muscle mass declining is the lack of activity.  As people age, the tend to be less active and this more so than disease is responsible for muscle mass decreasing. It is movement and exercise that influence the size and strength of your muscle and if you stop for even a short period of time, there is a reduction of muscle mass even in younger people.

Although proper diet and physical activity help keep muscle mass there, it is continued movement that is best for maintaining muscle mass.  Movement might be through gardening, riding a bike, or working out in a gym but it should be doing what ever you are doing now. If you want to increase your muscle mass, throw in some resistance training.  

The resistance training might consist of high velocity resistance training which targets muscle power by lifting weights quickly along side strength training which focuses on lifting heavier weights. Although high velocity resistance training is often done by athletes, moves such as power chair stands, leg lifts, and tricep extensions can help older adults.  In addition, think about moving quickly so if you start to trip, your feet are already moving into position for the next step.

Unfortunately, muscle loss contributes to trips and falls that lead to injury in older adults. So it is important to do strength training to help counter this issue.  It is well known that you will gain strength before your muscles get bigger. 

One of the most important things is to continue doing what you're doing and if you need to start adding some strength training now.  It doesn't matter your age, you will reap benefits.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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