Does Everyone Lose Muscle Mass as They Age?

Does Everyone Lose Muscle Mass as They Age University Park Gym

It’s common knowledge that muscle mass and strength decline as people age. But is it inevitable? Is there something you can do to prevent muscle loss, slow it down, or maybe even build muscle as you get older?

My dad is in his early 70s. He worked out and played football as a young man, and worked a physically demanding job his whole life. He’s still very active and fit. The young guys he goes to church with, some of whom work out multiple times a week at a gym, look to him as a role model and still comment on his impressive muscles.

Dad demonstrates the key to maintaining or even growing muscle mass as you age: keep using your muscles. The right kinds of exercise, coupled with a good diet, can help prevent or even reverse age-related muscle loss.

Does Everyone Lose Muscle Mass as They Age University Park GymUnderstanding Sarcopenia

The medical term for losing muscles as you age is sarcopenia. It can start as early as your 40s. On average, adults lose about 3% of their muscle mass each year after they pass middle age. In some cases, people might lose up to 50% of their muscle mass by age 80.

If people don’t do anything to counter this loss of muscle mass, they’ll keep losing strength as they age, and it can lead to other health issues as well. Some of the things that make sarcopenia worse include a sedentary lifestyle, imbalanced diets with low amounts of protein, inflammation, and stress. Certain health conditions can also contribute to sarcopenia.

Signs of sarcopenia include feeling physically weaker, noticing that it’s harder to lift things than it was before, and becoming tired more quickly. You might also notice unplanned weight loss. Those can be signs of other diseases too, though, so if you notice unexplained symptoms like this it’s always good to talk with your doctor before assuming it’s sarcopenia.

How To Keep Building Muscles

Staying active and using your muscles is the best way to resist sarcopenia. You’ll also want to make sure your diet includes plenty of healthy protein.

Resistance training, strength training, or weight training are great ways to maintain and build muscle mass as you age. In one study that looked at adults aged 65 to 94, results indicated that “performing resistance exercises three times per week increased muscle strength over 12 weeks” (Reid et al., 2008, cited by Health Line). Resistance training is the best way to prevent or reverse the muscle-loss effects of sarcopenia.

You can also gain benefits from aerobic exercise including cycling, jogging, and walking. Some studies show that if you do these types of exercises, even without doing resistance training, you’ll still improve muscle mass.

How Extreme Studio Performance Can Help

A variety of factors influence what type of exercise will be most helpful for you. Those factors include age, genetics, overall health, bone structure, personal preference, and other factors. It’s important to personalize your fitness journey.

At Extreme Studio Performance, our staff is happy to answer questions and offer advice to all our members on their unique fitness journeys. You can also sign up for group classes or individual training to develop a muscle-strengthening routine that fits your time needs and fitness goals. Click here to contact us to schedule a visit and a free personal fitness evaluation.