Do you want to know the most effective approach to slow down the aging process and extend your life?
Maintain your muscle mass.
We can lose 5-8 percent of our muscular mass as we get older. Men, who have more muscle mass when they are younger, lose roughly 30% of their muscular mass over their lifespan. Women lose muscle at a slower rate than males, but they still lose a lot. Women have larger levels of body fat, lesser muscle density, and poorer strength than men. Despite the fact that women live longer than males, they are at a significantly higher risk of handicap, due in part to muscle loss as they age.
Keep in mind that I’m not referring to feeble, elderly men and women. I’m referring to anyone beyond the age of thirty! Muscle loss begins after the age of 30 for both men and women, and it gets worse with each passing year.
Sarcopenia, or age-related muscle loss, can significantly reduce your life expectancy. And our muscles are responsible for a lot more than just moving our bodies. Muscle is essential for our metabolism, circulation, brain health, immunological function, and even the proper functioning of other organs. Muscle mass is a considerably better predictor of health than body mass index, according to study published in The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. Muscle mass is linked to several systems in the body. Leg strength has been discovered to be one of the best predictors of longevity.
“Leg strength was found to be a greater predictor of brain health than any other lifestyle characteristic examined in the study,” according to the researchers.
As we age, muscle mass protects us from falling and improves our balance and mobility. According to a new study published by the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, adults with age-related muscle loss had a nearly two-and-a-half-times increased risk of fracture from a broken hip, collarbone, leg, arm, or wrist.
Muscle loss also restricts or affects mobility. When mobility is harmed, overall quality of life and independence suffer significantly. This is frequently the decisive factor in whether or not to use assistive technology or seek outside assistance.
Muscle mass is also the single most important factor in determining our metabolic rate, or how many calories we burn every day. Even when sitting quietly, persons with more muscle mass burn considerably more calories than those with less muscular mass. Muscle mass has a huge impact on insulin resistance and blood sugar levels since muscles are one of our bodies’ major consumers of glucose for fuel. Insulin resistance in older adults is thought to be caused by a loss of muscle mass as people age. Metabolic dysfunction is caused by deteriorating muscle strength and a steady decreasing of mobility and activity, which can lead to complications.
Another important issue to consider when it comes to muscle mass is heart and lung health. The heart is a muscle, and persons who have muscle weakness may experience problems with their heart muscle. Due to the deteriorating power and bulk of the heart muscle, people with very low body weight and low muscle mass are at a higher risk of heart problems, such as heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias.
The Subtle Ways That Loss of Muscle Mass Harms Your Health
The loss of resilience caused by sarcopenia is a significant factor in the ability to deal with health challenges. People with low muscle mass are also more likely to contract contagious diseases and have a higher overall mortality rate. In addition, a lack of muscle mass increases your risk of pneumonia and other lung diseases.
Our skeletal muscle system is an organ that aids in immune system regulation. Muscle cells keep the immune system healthy by regulating both innate and adaptive immune responses. Both of these systems are critical in the fight against viruses like SarsCoV-2.
Despite the fact that I was an elite level bike racer, which is primarily a cardiovascular workout, I continued to do weight training during the off season. I was aware of the significance of maintaining strong muscles. Now that I’m no longer racing competitively, I lift weights 2-4 times per week.
The frustrating thing is that even though I am fit, if I miss a week or two of lifting weights, it is more difficult to get back into shape. I become stiff and sore. However, I am becoming more aware of the tremendous value that weight training has on my ability to move better, balance better, and simply feel more confident in my daily activities. So I keep going!
While cardio-based exercise is good for your heart and lungs, it will break down your muscles and reduce your muscle mass. As a result, always combine cardio-based exercise with a weight-training regimen.
Make it simple to stick to if you’re new to resistance exercise. Incorporate these top movements to help you maintain or increase your muscle mass, improve your balance, and assist you in your daily movements and activities. Simply say “No” to the grocery bag boy who offers to assist you in carrying your groceries to your car!
Remember the following resistance training principles:
- Keep it consistent—aim to do it 2-3 times a week or more.
- Incorporate the following movements into your plan.
- It doesn’t require equipment—you can use items around your house like cans, gallon jugs, rocks, etc.
- It helps to invest in a few dumbbells (5, 10, 15lbs) and a stretchy band or two you can comfortably put around your thighs.
- Increase your weights on a regular basis—every 2-3 weeks or so. Or add more reps.
- Allow a day of recovery in-between training sessions.
It is critical to always allow for adequate recovery time for your connective tissue and muscles. The other important factor is to ensure that you are getting enough healthy protein (real food, not powder) in your diet, as well as collagen, which promotes muscle recovery and prevents injury.
Every exercise in your strength training program serves a purpose: to help you gain strength and muscle, burn fat, and improve your fitness. While nearly any exercise has a time and a place in the right situation, some movements are simply more effective than others. It should come as no surprise that the ones that lay the groundwork for everyday movements will be the most beneficial for improving fitness and quality of life. These are referred to as “functional exercises,” and they should be included in any exercise program.
If you want to live a long and healthy life, I recommend starting with these exercises 2-3 times per week and improving your deep sleep experience. The better you are today, the longer (and better) you will live in the future.
- Strength in your legs is likely a better predictor of future health than overall muscle mass, but working your entire body is important for better mobility, health, and balance.
- Strength exercise causes temporary wear and tear of the muscles, and this can only be repaired during stage 3 of our sleep, which is the deep sleep. Not only does deep sleep repair torn muscles, it also improves overall muscle mass.
- Consume enough protein to keep your muscle and strength in check as you age. Switching out carbs for an extra serving of chicken or turkey whenever possible can help your body gain muscle.
- Protein is vital in improving muscle mass, but in order for the body to metabolize protein well and enjoy optimal results, you have to aim 7-9 hours of sleep every night, and about 1-2 hours of deep sleep (stage 3 of sleep).
- Deep sleep naturally decreases with age. There are, however, natural health supplements out in the market today that may improve your deep sleep experience. A unique, proprietary blend specially-formulated for baby boomers called “Be Great in Bed – Deep Sleep for Active Baby Boomers” is taking the natural health supplement market by storm as many baby boomers reportedly have their quality of sleep improved!
Certain exercises can help you slow down aging and look younger, but other types of exercises can actually make you age FASTER. That’s not good!
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