It almost seems inevitable that our bodies lose muscle mass as we age.
Lots of guys get saggy and get that beer belly and sometimes even get man boobs – which really sucks.
I mean really, even Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t looking quite as buff as he used to look. And if Mr. Universe can’t do it, than what hope does a common guy have?
As it turns out – more than you would think.
There are new studies that are showing real promise in stem cells to fix this decline in muscle mass, and even if this technology is an online quite yet, there are definitely things you can do to keep your muscle mass and health good and solid, and stay fit into your 40s, 60s and even 80s.
And if your doc isn’t talking to you about the importance of maintaining muscle mass, don’t worry. Your doc probably just doesn’t know because it doesn’t involve a prescription. But I have your back.
One of the BIG challenges of losing muscle as we age (which happens to everyone), is not just the way it makes us look, but that it also affects our skeletal system and organs as well.
Much as the function of bone and muscle is interwoven, so is their health and the factors that promote their loss or survival also are similar, said Hamrick.
This can cause major health issues beyond just looking not quite so muscular as you used to. Including brittle bones and a difficult time keeping weight off.
And to make matters worse, when we start losing muscle our bodies seem to replace that function with making fat.
When your body isn’t making bone and muscle it’s making fat.
Our stem cell population gets reduced and the cells we have become less efficient at making bone and muscle, often opting for the easier task of making fat instead, Isales said.
So it seems that your body wants to make something to maintain its mass and if bone and muscle aren’t possible then it will fill that void with producing fat, which is the exact opposite of what you want.
I understand that this seems pretty depressing at this point, but it doesn’t have to be. We can and should maintain muscle mass as we age.
In this study, they show that in mice that they can stop the decline of muscle loss through the use of stem cells.
This is pretty remarkable stuff. It means that in the future we may be able to nearly reverse aging, or at least stop at tracks. And the technology is coming on fast, although it’s not here yet for humans.
Which is a bummer.
“You can make an old mouse young and you can make a young mouse old,” Hill noted.
But there is another answer for keeping up muscle and bone mass and stopping the cycle of fat generation to replace it that’s available RIGHT NOW.
Moderate Movement is the Answer to Keeping Muscle Mass
One of the most important things you can do is keep moving every single day. This doesn’t mean you have to do massive workouts with huge amount weights, or look like a bodybuilder.
“Daily exercise decreases the slope of that decline of muscle mass.” said Isales
What’s really needed is continuous movement. One of the easiest ways to get that for most people is to get a standup desk. This allows you to activate your muscles in a way that you don’t when you are sitting.
Another thing that I do is pace on phone calls. I get one of those wireless headsets and just move.
Maintaining muscle mass through daily exercise really helps, but it doesn’t have to be strenuous. It just has to be 60 minutes or so of moderate movement.
This will help you to keep up your bone mass, keep your organ mass, and keep your muscle mass as you age. That way you avoid all the negative health side effects of losing muscle as well as the man boobs.
Because no-one wants man-boobs.
Don’t let the so called experts tell you differently. Fitness doesn’t have to be complicated, and movement can be as simple as walking your dog.
So until stem cells come online to magically give us muscles in our old age, daily movement is our best bet.