Tag: sarcopenia

Losing Muscle Mass as We Age

When we are young and full of health and vitality, it is easy to live in the moment without any consideration of what our quality of life will be like as we age. When we are twenty years old and full of spunk, we cannot see ourselves being old and frail. However, as grains of time in the hour glass continue to rapidly drain from the top, we find that time has gotten past us and thirty years or better have flown by in the blink of an eye. None of us are immune from this.

Aging can come with some great benefits, such as wisdom from life experience and memories, whether good or bad.  However, one challenge we can all face over time is the loss of lean muscle mass. This is a condition known as sarcopenia. Losing strength as we get older can make daily tasks harder and over time can cause you to become less independent.

Photo by Fillipe Gomes from Pexels

Can it be stopped?

Yes, this condition can be stopped, but you have to make lifestyle changes early on in order to get the best results out of your actions.

By keeping your muscles strong, you can stay independent longer and continue doing the things you love without needing much help from others. When we are twenty years old, we never want to see ourselves as being old and frail in a nursing home because we no longer have the capability to take care of our basic functions of life. When we are young, who ever stops to consider they might need a care taker in order to get on and off the toilet and to help us with our basic hygiene needs. Yet, this happens every day, and the people this happens to are getting younger and younger all the time. It is not uncommon today to see people laid up in nursing homes  during their fifties for  ailments that we used to only think of being issues for the true senior citizens among us.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Things that accelerate muscle loss

As you age, your body can change in ways that surprise you. One of the most noticeable changes is weakness and ease of motion. Your lifestyle and overall health play a key role in how fast those changes occur. Factors that can increase muscle loss include:

Inactive lifestyle: People with sarcopenia who lead sedentary lives are also at greater risk of osteoporosis. This is because active muscles send signals to bones that help them stay strong. The drop in strength from sarcopenia means people may be more prone to falls and bone fractures. muscle loss is largely accelerated by inactivity. As we get older, we tend to move less. But exercise is one of the key signals that our body needs to keep our muscles strong and healthy. Without that signal our muscles start getting smaller and weaker over time. None of us are immune from this!

An unbalanced diet, low in proteins: Eating protein also acts as a signal to grow and maintain muscle. However, as we age, we tend to have smaller appetites and eat less protein, increasing the risk of muscle loss. Protein is an important nutrient for everyone, not just athletes and body builders. Humans can’t survive without all nine essential amino acids. Protein is essential to building bones, and body tissues, such as muscles, but protein does much more than that. Protein participates in practically every process of a cell. It plays a part in metabolic reactions, immune response, provides a source of energy, assists in cellular repair, forms blood cells, and more. As we age, these issues become even more critical to our health and well being.

Inflammation or swelling:  Medical conditions that cause muscle loss can often be avoided through proper diet and exercise. Lower levels of the hormones testosterone and estrogen, higher levels of body fat, insulin resistance and higher levels of inflammation are other reasons why older people lose muscle more easily than younger people. In fact, all of these factors combined lead to something called “anabolic resistance”. This means the body doesn’t respond as well to the signals that normally cause muscles to grow. However, you do not need to be a victim to these conditions when you have committed yourself to a healthy lifestyle that includes proper diet and regular exercise.

You can control many of the factors linked to muscle loss. Managing your health conditions and making the right lifestyle changes can help you build and keep your strength. We can’t stop ourselves from aging, but we can slow down some of its effects. While increased physical activity is important to maintain your overall health and well-being, engaging in strengthening exercises at least 2 to 3 times each week is your best defense against muscle loss. By continuing to use your muscles, you’ll be working to keep them strong.

You don’t need expensive exercise equipment, a personal trainer, or even a gym membership. Common forms of physical activity and exercise that can help build strength and keep you mobile include:

Walking, stair climbing, and biking

Strength training with resistance tubes and bands

Yard work (mowing, gardening, and planting)

Becoming more active can energize your mood, relieve stress, help you manage symptoms of illness and pain, and improve your overall sense of well-being. And reaping the rewards of exercise doesn’t have to involve strenuous workouts or trips to the gym. You can gain the benefits from adding more movement and activity to your life, even in small ways. No matter your age or physical condition, it’s never too late to get your body moving, boost your health and outlook, and improve how well you age.

Save your hard earned money and follow us here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness.

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Grow Younger


Have you ever noticed that there are some people who seem to defy their age on an ongoing basis? They remain strong and active, pursuing life with a passion well into old age while others are ready to give up on everything near and dear to them before they are forty. There are reasons that some people seem perpetually young, and you can tap into this fountain of youth with a bit of knowledge and some work. Do you want to age early or remain engaged and vital for your entire life? This is determined largely by the choices that you make every day.

Stop talking about how old and dysfunctional you are. We believe what we hear repeated over and over and even if the dialogue comes from our own mouths, when we repeatedly hear negative statements about ourselves, we tend to conform to what we hear. When you talk about yourself the saying “If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all.” applies here just as it does anywhere else.

At David’s Way we teach to make your world small. This means cutting out negative people who drag you down and create chaos that keeps you from being able to focus on your goals. It also implies cutting out activity and obligations that hinder you from creating the life that you want. Negative people age you by the process of “social contagion” where you pick up negative habits. Follow after people who make you kick it up a notch and reap the benefits of choosing your friends wisely.

Learn to be resilient. When we are resilient we can take the detours that life throws at us with a better attitude. Without this miracle working personality trait, every wave in the ocean seems like a hurricane and we will stay full of anxiety all the time. Ongoing anxiety leads to depression in most people. Look in the mirror and make the expression you have when you are depressed, then immediately “put on a happy face.” See the difference? Resilience allows you to smile through the toughest times because you know that the wave that knocked you down and nearly drowned you is gone now and you just might body surf the next one. Get up and move on after a setback. You can choose to move up or stay in your misery. Get up and create the life that you want instead of allowing life to make you a victim

Okay, now let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Don’t eat added sugar. Sugar is so calorie dense that if you make a habit of eating it you will probably eat too many calories. It will also cause insulin spikes and the resulting hunger. You will overeat and have too much body fat. Excess body fat contributes to ill health by changing your hormone levels, causing impaired flexibility and gait, increasing blood pressure, increasing your risk of cancer, heart disease and psychiatric symptoms due to impaired self-esteem. Sugar also leaves a by product of it’s metabolism behind in your skin through a process called glycation, which makes your skin look dull and dry and wrinkle much easier.

So often women tell me that they don’t get enough protein. Read David’s article, Looking Good As We Age to understand some of the reasons that this is a critical issue. Sarcopenia, or the natural loss of muscle that accompanies aging, is a debilitating condition that can be lessened or even reversed by proper diet and weight bearing exercise. In this article you will find specific recommendations for your protein needs to be met. It’s necessary to add weight bearing exercise into the equation to reverse muscle loss. We all know the little ole’ lady with the stooped posture and shuffling gait. This can happen to you much earlier than you can possibly realize if you neglect your diet and refuse to get active to preserve and build muscle. Regardless of your age, do you ever want that stooped, frail body? Look no further than Ernestine Shepherd, the World’s Oldest Female Bodybuilder, to see what is possible. Ernestine is in her eighties and still turns heads and trains other women to be strong. She is neither stooped nor frail. She eats over 200 grams of protein a day and is a strength trainer. She began working out at 56 and is the perfect example of what is possible when we make an effort. She rocks a bikini better than most much younger women.

Get your sleep! When we sleep our bodies repair the microtears brought about by exercise. This repair process translates to new muscle. Our skin is also repaired and renewed during sleep. Think about the way you look after staying up all night as compared to the way that you look after a good night’s sleep. When we never get enough sleep the damage accumulates and deep lines and wrinkles form much easier. If you don’t get enough sleep every night do try to get all that you can. There is evidence that we can repair some of the damage done by missing sleep. At one time it was thought that you could not “catch up” on sleep. Now there is evidence that we can recoup a lot ot it.

Avoid too much UV light from sun exposure. Too much sun acellerates the aging process almost as much as smoking cigarettes. Cigarettes rob your skin of the all important Vitamin C that is integral to collagen formation. Don’t smoke.

Decide now, regardless of your age, to become proactive instead of reactive and enjoy your entire life in better health… and don’t throw away that bikini.