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Staying Strong Over 50 | Beating Age Related Muscle Loss

Updated: Jan 18, 2022

As we age, we tend to sit more and exercise less. A sedentary lifestyle compounds our risk of developing sarcopenia, an age-related muscle loss condition. Most adults will lose 30% of their lean muscle mass between 30-60 years of age. In addition, research has shown that muscle strength declines by 15% during age 60 and 30% per decade after. This decline in muscle mass, muscular strength, and functional ability result in changes that lead to poorer quality of life, physical disability, a reduction in health, and death. Sarcopenia is a critical component of frailty and muscle weakness in older individuals.

A targeted exercise program can help you prevent that.

Why is Sarcopenia Such a Big Deal

The less muscle mass we have, the greater chance for fall and injury because your muscles provide coordination and balance. Furthermore, weakened muscles increase the risk of bone fracture or breakage for individuals with osteoporosis.

Many factors contribute to sarcopenia.

Sarcopenia is common among inactive, more sedentary individuals. However, sarcopenia can also be present in those who have active lifestyles. Current research suggests the following factors contribute to the progression of sarcopenia as we age.

  • A sedentary lifestyle

  • Decreased digestive function results from reduced production of HCL (hydrochloric acid) in our stomachs. Adequate HCL is necessary to break down, split and digest amino acids.

  • A decrease in the production of hormones responsible for regulating muscle growth and development.

  • A reduction in cellular signaling from the brain to muscles to begin movement.

Can Age-Related Muscle Loss Be Prevented?

The good news is, yes, sarcopenia can be reversed and slowed or prevented. The best prescription for age-related muscle loss appears to be an active lifestyle which includes 2-3 days of strength training per week.

How can I reverse or prevent sarcopenia?

  • Regular exercise, like strength training, targeted to build lean muscle mass

  • A diet with sufficient protein to build muscle as well as support the body’s normal functions

  • Targeted protein supplementation with Creatine or Whey

Keep your muscles active.

Muscle growth happens from using our muscles. Resistance training produces small stresses to our muscle fibers. After your workout, your body repairs the small tears using protein. The only proven way to fight and improve sarcopenia in scientific literature is to keep your muscles active. Progressive resistance training is vital in building muscle. A review of 121 sarcopenia research trials concluded that resistance training improves muscle strength and quality of life. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week. 2-3 days of 30-minute resistance training should be part of your fitness plan to build lean muscle. Resistance training targets muscle growth, whereas aerobics does not.

Eating an adequate amount of protein with meals is essential.

Specifically, we require protein to repair and recover after a workout and build more muscles. Often as we age, we consume fewer calories. Therefore, supplementation with Whey Protein or Creatine looks promising muscle growth in the elderly.

  • Whey protein is easily digestible, contains all essential amino acids, and is a rich source of branch chain amino acids. Studies have shown that women who supplemented with whey combined with resistance training increased lean body mass and decreased fat.

  • Creatine may also be an effective dietary strategy to combat age-related muscle atrophy and sarcopenia when used to complement the benefits of exercise training.

  • While studies in older adults show little to no benefit to whey or creatine supplementation alone for muscle mass, n conjunction with resistance training, whey, and creatine have the potential to increase muscle accumulation and growth.

How much protein should I eat?

Your protein intake depends on how much you weigh. For women over 50, experts recommend 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of weight (1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds). As an example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you would need at least 63 grams of protein a day.

A 2015 study conducted by researchers at the University of Arkansas School of Medical Sciences discovered that “more is better” for older adults in the case of protein. Healthy women and men ages 52 to 75 ate either the standard protein RDI or twice that amount. In addition, the people who ate more protein built muscle better than those who ate less no matter how much or how little they exercised.

So, can sarcopenia be reversed or prevented? The answer looks promising. When combined with proper nutrition and adequate protein, muscle-strengthening exercises are an effective intervention against age-related muscle loss.

If you feel you are losing strength or becoming weaker, schedule an INTRO with me today! I will design a custom workout plan for you and we will work together to help you get stronger, feel more energy and vitality! I can't wait to meet you!


Creatine Supplementation in Women’s Health: A Lifespan Perspective

Use of Creatine in the Elderly and Evidence for Effects on Cognitive Function in Young and Old

Muscular Atrophy and Sarcopenia in the Elderly. Is there a Role for Creatine Supplementation?

Effect of Creatine Supplementation During Resistance Training on Lean Tissue Mass and Muscular Strength in Older Adults: A Meta Analysis

Exercise Prescription for the Elderly: Current Recommendations

Effect of whey protein supplementation combined with resistance training on body composition, muscular strength, functional capacity, and plasma metabolism biomarkers in older women with sarcopenia obesity: A randomized double blind placebo controlled trail

The Role of Muscle Mass Gain Following Protein Supplementation Plus Exercise Therapy in Older Adults with Sarcopenia and Frailty Risks: A Systematic Review and Meta Regression Analysis of Randomized Trials

Progessive Resistance Strength Training for Improving Physical Function in Older Adults

You Can Build Lean Muscle After 50

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