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Edgar Benitez, CSCS, Director


November 15, 2023

Muscle and Longevity

Understanding Muscle's Role in Aging As we age, starting as early as our 40s, our muscle mass begins to decline. This isn't just about losing strength; it's a critical health concern that can affect our independence and overall well-being. Lean and functional muscle mass is good for joint health, pain resilience, and injury prevention. But most importantly, as we recognize at IMOC Fitness, lean muscle mass is the key to longevity.

Sarcopenia: The Silent Muscle Thief Sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass, is a major factor in the decline of physical function and independence in older adults. It's not just a matter of getting weaker; it's about facing a shorter lifespan and a tougher recovery from injuries or surgeries. This muscle loss is connected to various factors, including neurological and hormonal changes, inflammation, sedentary lifestyles, chronic illnesses, and poor nutrition.

Muscles: More Than Movers Muscles account for over half of our body mass and play a vital role beyond movement. They are integral in controlling blood sugar levels, using glucose as fuel, and are involved in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Losing muscle mass can lead to a cascade of negative health outcomes, including fatigue, disability, increased fall risk, frailty, and even death.

Muscle Synthesis vs. Muscle Breakdown Our body is in a constant flux of building up and breaking down muscle protein. Achieving a balance where muscle protein synthesis exceeds muscle protein breakdown is essential to combat the changes that occur with aging and inactivity.

The Power of Resistance Exercise Regardless of age, muscles respond to resistance exercise. It's a misconception that muscle building is only for the young. Even at 80, proper resistance exercise can lead to muscle growth. Supplements alone are not enough; proper nutrition and exercise are key.

Muscle Mass and Longevity: A Direct Link Muscle and fat are both crucial in our metabolic health. While visceral fat contributes to chronic diseases, muscles improve glucose management and reduce insulin resistance. Exercise is a vital tool in managing metabolic disorders.

Low Muscle Mass: A Path to Falls and Frailty A comprehensive exercise program should include aerobic conditioning, resistance exercise, high-intensity workouts, and balance training. Weak muscles and poor balance significantly increase the risk of falls, leading to severe injuries and potentially life-threatening consequences.

Building Muscle Mass: A Lifelong Journey Initiating a resistance exercise program is crucial for preventing muscle loss. Focusing on exercising your legs, thighs, calves, and glutes is vital as these large muscle groups significantly impact metabolism and fall risk. Don't let fear of injury deter you; the risks of inactivity are far greater.

Embrace Resistance Training for a Healthier Future Resistance training is essential, regardless of age. It's crucial for maintaining balance, strength, and independence as you age. Don't let sarcopenia or frailty become your reality. Start lifting, get moving, and embrace a healthier, stronger future.

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