Ask most people what they imagine when they think of an aging man or woman and eventually, they’ll describe someone who’s frail, who’s weak, and has lost muscle mass, strength, and energy. But does it really have to be that way? In this article, we’ll look at a phenomenon called sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass and we’ll look at whether it’s bound to happen or not. If you want to slow or even turn back the clock on the aging process, then this article was made for you.

As we age we age we lose muscle, everyone knows that don’t they? The older we get the less muscle we have and the weaker we become, happens to everyone right? But does it really? The answer is no, not necessarily and it doesn’t have to be a picture of the future for anyone. In this article, we’re going to look at strategies for not only retaining the muscle mass that you have but retaining the muscle mass you have at any age. Before we get into that let’s look at why we might want to work at retaining more muscle and there are a lot of reasons why. The first reason has to do with mobility, of all the sad things that can happen to us, loss of mobility definitely tops the list. That means that we can’t get around as well as we used to. It means we can’t do the type of activities that we used to.

It means that we can’t do as much for ourselves, It means a loss of independence and autonomy and eventually, it will mean having a live-in healthcare assistant. So, let’s turn that around and focus on the bright side. Building muscle as we get older means being stronger, having more energy, and being able to continue to live the type of life we enjoy. Increasing muscle mass raises the metabolism, and makes it easier to lose weight and keep that weight off. It also translates into looking and feeling better and having more confidence.

The age-related loss of muscle mass is called sarcopenia not to be confused with cachexia which is the wasting away of the body due to a chronic disease like cancer. Primary or age-related sarcopenia with no other causes evident beyond aging itself. Secondary sarcopenia is when more and more other causes are present such as obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, or arthritis and in this article we’re going to be talking about only primary age-related sarcopenia. After the age of 30 loss also occurs at a rate of as much as 3 to 5% per decade. Most men will lose about 30% of their muscle mass throughout their lives and that lost muscle mass can have a devastating effect. It can lead to a loss of strength, lower activity levels, and loss of functional status and it can cause significant disability.  

Loss of muscle mass is also tied to a loss of bone mass. The lack of action that leads to sarcopenia also leads to osteoporosis. They reinforce each other in a downward-spiraling loop. And older men with sarcopenia are twice as likely to break a bone in a fall. So, let’s say look at how this process of losing muscle mass comes about. The biggest culprit is inactivity. As we age it’s natural to want to slow down and take it easy, we’ve earned it, right? Wrong! We’re at an age where inactivity is exactly the wrong thing to do. Muscles respond to stress, but they also respond to no stress, and the rate at which they decline, accelerates as we age, meaning that as we age it takes less and less time to get out of shape when we stop stressing the muscles. This means that exercising has never been more important.

Doing resistance training whether it’s weight training or body weight exercises or whatever is the best thing that you can do to retain or even rebuild your muscles. The Internet is full of images of men in their 60s, 70s, and  80s who are fit and muscular, proving that it’s never too late. The next biggest cause is a decline in hormones. Making sure that testosterone, HGH, and thyroid are at proper levels is critical in adding muscle or even maintaining muscle mass. The levels of these hormones go into decline as we age, but they don’t need to.

There are plenty of hormone therapies such as we have at & natural strategies that will restore hormone levels. So retaining or rebuilding muscle mass is just one of many reasons why it’s a great idea to optimize hormone levels. Another cause of sarcopenia has to do with diet. It’s a fact that as we age our consumption of protein goes down, most of us are not getting enough of it or not getting enough that’s very bio-available. Yet protein is critical to maintaining muscle mass. We can lift weights all day long but if we’re not fueling that workout with enough protein then our muscles aren’t going to grow. Even when we’re not working to sustain muscle maintenance, muscle will be lost.

It’s important that we not just track how much protein we’re consuming but that we really understand how much of that protein we’re absorbing, how much is going towards repairing muscle & growth, and how much is fueling our activities which hopefully is not much because we want to fuel our activities with complex carbs and high-quality fats and utilizing the protein we eat for muscle synthesis. So, the point of all this is that all hope is not lost. It is possible to either maintain or even rebuild muscle mass and keep sarcopenia at bay. There’s every reason to do so.

The more muscle mass that can be maintained, the more strength, independence, and energy we’ll have, and the fitter you can remain. You’ll have stronger bones and be less susceptible to falls and less likely to break a bone if you do fall. More muscles will give us a higher metabolism and help us to keep the weight off, It’ll also give us improved circulation and provide high blood flow to the organs, keeping them healthy. It stores more glycogen helping us to fight against diabetes and it will ultimately help us look better and have more energy and confidence.

I don’t care how old you are, it’s never too late to fight sarcopenia. Stay active, stress out your muscles by lifting weights, keep track of your hormones, and do everything you can to optimize your hormone production and make sure that you eat and absorb enough protein to fuel muscle synthesis. Holding off sarcopenia is a huge part of extending our health span. That is the length of time that a person is healthy, active, and mobile not just alive. If you are looking for help with balancing hormones, slowing the aging process, or losing weight in a medically proven & physician-directed way or you are a fitness professional who wants a partner to help your clients with anti-aging protocols.

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