Getting older and losing muscle


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                As an avid weight-lifter, I am always looking to improve my workouts and build more muscle. Recently, I was flipping through a Men's Fitness magazine and saw an ad that promoted a product that was meant to build muscle. This seems common for a fitness magazine, but this ad targeted older men in particular. It was a product that was supposed to slow down muscle loss. This got me thinking. What age do we begin to lose muscle and why?

                Muscle loss is known as sarcopenia. This is a very common and natural process that occurs to the human body. It has been found that about thirty-five to forty percent of muscle loss occurs between the ages of 20 and 80. When I saw this I was shocked that sarcopenia could possibly start at such a young age of 20. However, many scientists would agree that the overall average age for when one would lose the most muscle is after the age of 50. Even so, that is still fairly young. There are many extremely active 50 year olds out there.

                So how do we go about preventing muscle loss? Actually, it's not really about prevention. It's more along the line of delaying. Those people who live a more active lifestyle tend to lose muscle at a much slower rate than that of a person leading a non-active lifestyle. Staying active is an important way to delay muscle loss. muscle loss blog.jpg

                As we age, we lose muscle over time because our body's ability to produce newer muscle proteins decreases. We can't put an exact time or age on when each person will lose begin losing muscle, but we do know that both men and women lose the same percentage as they begin to get older. This is why it's important to stay active. There are also many other ways to delay muscle loss.

6 Comments

This is great motivation! I was an avid long/mid distance runner in high school, but that's going on 5 years ago. I have recently started running again and I am definitely not in the same shape as I was in high school. I have already been able to tell that my muscle mass has decreased drastically since high school and I'm only 22! I can only imagine what would happen if I remained inactive until I was 50! After reading other ways to delay muscle loss, I can see there is a lot more I can do to improve, such as getting more sleep or adding more protein to my diet. Is there one factor in particular that triggers muscle loss more than the others? Or should we try to even out our attempts with all of the factors?

Considering your findings and the fact that you are an avid weight-lifter how long do you think you can delay muscle loss? Are people who have been active since a young age have a longer delay period? Why is muscle loss such a bad thing?

This information was actually very surprising. I never would have thought a 20 year old would begin to lose muscle mass, let alone a 50 year old. And to answer your question Akeena, muscle mass is vital for an aging person. Let's say you're an old person and you fall down the stairs, if you have more muscle mass, there is a greater chance of being fine after the fall.

I'm glad you wrote about this Mike. I also like to go to the gym everyday and this is just another reason for me to go. Not only does going to the gym on a daily basis provide up front benefits, you can also see the long term effects of it.

To answer your question Morgan, I think the one factor that is greatest in delaying muscle loss is staying active. Through my research on this topic I found that staying active was mentioned most. It has been found that muscle loss can begin as early as age 20. With that being said, I think that establishing good habits now will set you up for delaying muscle loss in the future.

Good to see some fitness blogs. As I was reading above I couldn't help but think of more commercials for muscle building supplements for older men and women to help combat this problem. There are many factors working against older people when it comes to fitness and it seems as though some people look like they haven't lost any muscle at all through the years and this is done through the very simply method of staying active, working out and doing everything with correct form . Diet is also a huge role in building and sustaining muscle.

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