Sarcopenia is the technical term for muscle loss, which is very common amongst both male and females over the age of 50, affecting around about 10% of adults. The process starts around about middle age, where we tend to lose 3% of muscle mass every year. Over time, this can severally limit one’s ability to perform everyday activities. When we age, the body can become resistant to the normal growth signals and tend favour catabolising muscle, instead of anabolism.
When we lose muscle mass, we decrease our life expectancy. But the good news is that there are several things we can do to both halt this or reverse the negative effects – and this can be done at any age.
Causes of sarcopenia
- Is the natural result of getting old?
- a diet that is not adequately filled with nutritionally rich food
- not doing enough exercise on a daily basis
Here are some simple and effective steps you can start taking from middle age in order to tip the balance in favour of anabolism instead of catabolism.
5 effective ways for men to increase muscle mass & strength
- Weight train. If we want to grow muscle, and maintain it, then weight training should always become part of our training regime. Alternating between strength and hypertrophy focused training sessions, will allow us the best change of increasing both of these aspects, and preventing muscle loss long term. It’s important to also note that protein is the most essential nutrient in helping us to increase muscle mass and maintain it for life.
- Eat well. If we continue to fill our diet with refined carbs and processed foods, we will not be supplying our bodies with adequate calories or nutrients. This can lead to muscle loss and fat accumulation. A diet that is rich in high grade protein, vegetables and fat sources, is your best bet against muscle loss. Eating well also decreases your chances of developing various diseases and increasing the likelihood of a better and longer life span.
- Stay active regularly. It’s not enough just to train in the gym, we must become considerably active on a daily basis. This will increase our longevity and keep or body fat stores regulated. A brisk walk, jog or even some kind of cardiovascular attempts (HIIT is best for fat burning) will keep you active and assist you in the fight against disease.
- Inhibit inflammation. When we experience some kind of illness or injury, our bodies tear down and rebuild cells. With chronic inflammation, we disrupt this natural balance our bodies, and muscle loss can become part of the teardown process. Disease that cause long term inflammation are; Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and lupus. These diseases can in fact become manageable to some extent, with proper diet and perhaps medication. But it’s good to know that if you suffer from any of these conditions, you must be extra vigilant with your diet and exercise regime.
- Decrease your levels of stress. Stress is a well-known factor for decreasing muscle mass and increasing your rate of fat storage. Although at times, stress cannot be helped in our daily life, too much of it affects us both on a mental and physical level. Exercising regularly reduces the effects of stress, as does yoga, Pilates and meditation. Being out in nature has a soothing and calming effect, as does spending time with loved ones. Make sure you are trying hard to be consciously aware of the stress in your life and combatting it as soon as possible.
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