by Peter Culp
I was recently looking at an Instagram post of a physiotherapist I follow, @adammeakins, who was talking about muscles and the benefits of keeping muscles big and strong as we age. His focus was on sarcopenia, or loss of muscle tissue as part of the aging process. Sarcopenia can be noticed as early as 40 years of age and can have important effects on our health and the function of our bodies. As our muscles lose mass as we age, we are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteopenia, dementia, loss of independence, and premature death.
Our muscles are very important in helping to balance our hormonal and glucose levels. As we age, this function of our muscles begins to decline as our muscles start to get smaller, closely followed by more sinister conditions. Something to consider is that we can lose 8% of our muscle mass every decade beginning at 40-years-old, and up to 15% per decade by the time we are 70-years-old. The good news is that we can counteract sarcopenia with regular exercise! The picture below references muscle tissue of various ages. As you can see we are able to maintain large healthy muscles as we age if we continue to exercise.
It is never too late to begin to grow muscle mass. Proper resistance training will stimulate growth of muscle mass and protein synthesis. So start incorporating some weight training into your daily routine, regardless of your age.
Reference: The statistics and information shared above are from @adammeakins Instagram post on 7/18/2021 titled “Sarcopenia.”
Peter Culp, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist, TPI Golf Fitness Expert