Muscle Declines Naturally with Age
If you are approaching or in your 50’s you may know that some of your strength and agility has left you. Naturally we tend to laugh this off as a result of getting older and you’re probably right!
As we age, one of the major changes that takes place is a decrease in overall skeletal muscle mass. These are the muscles that enable our bones to move. Muscle composition changes as well, so that fast twitch muscle fibers become slower and tendons don’t stretch quite so far as in your youth, causing a progressive loss of power and strength. Agility and balance is normally expected to decline and this means an increased incidence of falling. As you can imagine this has tremendous repercussions on the aging population in the work force especially when executing manual labor with heavy equipment!
Another issue is these muscle changes with age aren’t always noticeable because your weight may not change. The reason for this is that fat increases as muscle declines in the aging process. This means that naturally the overall fat percentage increases with age, especially in the abdominal area, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and numerous other chronic diseases.
The great news is you have control over this to some degree. You can slow down and prevent muscle loss, and even build muscle mass though a number of factors including absorbing enough protein daily, getting enough vitamin D and regular exercise. Regular strength training will also help to maintain overall muscle strength.
Further still, the ‘old-age’ belief that weight training for women means big bulky muscles just isn’t true. The body composition of a female doesn’t have the same physical ability to get big and bulky like a man can. So, it’s important to understand that building muscle through strength training does not mean that you will get bigger. In fact, muscle takes up less space than fat does so theoretically building lean muscle will make your body smaller and more efficient!