WHAT HAPPENS TO MUSCLE WHEN AGING?
We usually notice the meaning of muscles when their functional ability weakens or is jeopardized. It is quite annoying when you cant open a jar of pickles or a waterbottle or when your legs get all exhausted just by walking up the stairs. Poor muscle size and strength can lead to a host of health issues later in life, including disability and increased mortality risk due to frailty. Size and strength of muscles are also related to the metabolic disorders and type 2 diabetes as muscle tissue helps regulate blood sugar, insulin and other hormones. In addition in many illnesses one critical risk factor for premeditated death is the muscle sarcopenia and atrophy. On the other hand good muscle size and functional ability can help to endure and recover difficulties and illness that may come across during life. Having good muscle condition has many positive impacts to quality of life and health in general as we have pointed out in our earlier blogs.
Muscle strength is at its peak when you are aged 20-30. But what happens to muscle when you age? Distinct muscle mass and strength loss aka muscle atrophy is what happens. You lose 0,5% of your muscle mass a year and 1% of your muscle strength a year when you turn 40 years old. Weakening of muscle mass and strength accelerates further after the age of 70.
Muscle strength is at its peak when you are aged 20-30. You lose 0,5% of your muscle mass a year and 1% of your muscle strength a year when you turn 40 years old.
However the lifetime expectancy has increased over the years and its quite common to live over 80 or even 90 years of age. Projections indicate that in 2050 the number of people over age 80 has tripled since 2015. At the same time people have recognized that they want to maintain the quality of live and live as healthy as long as possible, to be able to take care of yourself and live by yourself as long as possible even when aging.
CAN YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT? WHEN IS IT TOO LATE?
Don’t you worry. According to studies, you can affect your muscle strength, size and functional ability by as little as 8 weeks of resisted training, even at the age of 90. The decrease in physical activity with aging process is the key factor in development of strength and muscle mass loss. Resistance or strength training is particularly important for the elderly. The American College of Sports Medicine, the American Heart Association, and the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommend engaging in muscle strengthening activities targeting all major muscle groups at least two days per week. The improvements in muscle strength however can be lost without regular maintenance of training.
According to studies, you can affect your muscle strength, size and functional ability by as little as 8 weeks of resisted training, even at the age of 90.
According to studies, you can affect your muscle strength, size and functional ability by as little as 8 weeks of resisted training, even at the age of 90. As you age it becomes harder to maintain and increase your physical and muscle strength. Even though you think that you will never get old, ”Im at my 20’s and turning to 40+ is so far away in the future”, think of all the good feeling and health benefits that resistance training and exercise can give you already now. So by the time you turn 40 and start losing your muscle strength you have enough in reserve and its much easier to keep going strong.
IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE THE STUDIES READ THE SUCCESS STORIES OF REAL PEOPLE
Adults over age 50 gain an average of 2.4 pounds of lean body mass with resistance exercise. Living proof of this is Ms Ernestine “Ernie” Shepherd, at age 80, is a personal trainer, a professional model, a competitive bodybuilder and happier and more fulfilled than she’s ever been in her life. At the age of 56 she had never worked out in her life when she went to the gym and started working out regularly. What an inspiring story! And the internet is full of similar success stories of elderly people starting to workout and get healthy 🙂
Another really enthusiasting story is of an 80 year old japanese man Wang Deshun. He started working out when he was 50 and only when he was 70 he started working on his abs. In 2015, at 79, he walked a sold out runway show at China Fashion Week.
For me exercising has not always been the thing to aspire for but rather something that I have to do in order to keep fit and look good. 8 years ago I was in a situation with 15 extra kgs and feeling tired and having back pains. Then I started to do regular cardio exercising, mainly nordic walking, biking, running, swimming, skiing. I was able to lose the 15 kgs! I have started several times going to the gym to do strength training but have quit as many times without achieving the results that I’ve been seeking for – getting rid of back pain and getting fitter body. Mainly because I have been too ambitious with ”I want it now” attitude or too convenience driven and something else has had more priority in my life. How many times have I heard the good advices and benefits of strength training and thought, maybe someday, without realising how difficult the training and achieving results become as you age. I started doing strength training regularly 3 years ago and today, I feel stronger and better about myself and my body than ever in my 20’s. I just turned 46 years old and some young women whom I didn’t know earlier thought that I’m 32 years!
It’s never too late. You are never too old. Nor you are never too busy to take care of yourself.
It’s never too late. You are never too old. Nor you are never too busy to take care of yourself. Think that the amount of time you put into exercising will come back to you manifold. Think also that when you feel good and healthy how much easier it is for you to take care of your work, your children and your family ❤