Maintaining muscle is the Fountain of Youth.


Maintaining muscle is the Fountain of Youth.

And losing it is a terrible option.

By about age 40, you start to lose 1% of your muscle mass and strength every year. This is called sarcopenia and it contributes to ailments that significantly affect the elderly, including osteoporosis (bone loss), loss of independence, and even increased morbidity. Sarcopenia is a natural aging process, but it’s accelerated by lack of physical activity.

Fortunately, resistance training - lifting weights - for as little as thirty minutes per session can slow, halt, or even reverse muscle and bone loss. Performed two or three times a week, lifting weights can increase bone and joint health, help reduce falls and frailty, and prevent or improve chronic health conditions. It’s never too early or too late to start thinking about improving your strength -- after all, it’s much easier to maintain muscle than build it.

When you start losing muscle, simple actions can become difficult. Taking the stairs is no longer an option and elevators becomes a necessity. You get fatigued more easily with simple tasks. Even getting in and out of a car or up and down from a chair can become a challenge. These will occur as a result of losing muscle.

Documented Health Affects of Maintaining Muscles

Reduce Falls and Frailty: Six in ten people who break a hip never fully regain their former level of independence. While falls are the leading cause of injury and death among older adults, weight training has been proven to significantly decrease the likelihood of falling. By strengthening bones and demanding coordination within each movement, resistance training helps promote balance and counter frailty.

Improve Bone and Joint Health: Not only does resistance training help gain and maintain muscle, it also helps prevent bone loss and can even increase bone mineral density. A recent meta-analysis concluded that regular strength training can provide a significant reduction in joint pain and stiffness, increase bone density in the spine and hips, and reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis in older adults.

Prevent Chronic Health Conditions: Strength training has been found to help prevent or improve chronic health conditions. For example, regular training can improve sleep quality, reduce arthritic pain, reduce depression, improve glycemic control in type-2 diabetes, and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Live Longer and Better: A study published in Preventive Medicine in 2011 reported that older adults who strength trained at least twice a week had 46% lower odds of death for any reason than those who did not. They also had 41% lower odds of cardiac death and 19% lower odds of dying from cancer. Regular weight training

Muscle Loss Starts Early

Muscle loss doesn't just occur in the elderly but starts when you are in your 30's. Research has shown that peak strength occurs in the 20's and plateau's when you are in your 30's.

The best to determine your skeletal muscle mass is with the InBody device. The InBody analyzes your body composition of fat, bone, water and muscle. Looking at the Muscle-Fat Analysis is one very important factor. You want your skeletal muscle mass to be higher than your body fat mass. But as you age (or have a sedentary lifestyle), you start seeing the skeletal muscle mass decrease and the body fat mass increase, Your weight may or may not change which is why justing looking at weight is not the most important number.

Invest in your health today, regardless of your age, by knowing your body fat and skeletal muscle mass. Maintaining muscle mass is an important part of your health and essential for maintaining a healthy body and living a long and healthy life.

To find out your Muscle-Fat composition and how to stop and even reverse muscle loss you can talk with the Johnson Center’s health coach, Kelsey Donley, at jcenterhealth@gmail.com.

To schedule an appointment, contact 276-235-3205.

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