I was surprised to learn how fast we can lose muscle mass starting at age 35, and what the cumulative effect of this trend can have on our overall health.
Muscle loss, known as muscle atrophy, can occur due to a variety of reasons, including aging, a sedentary lifestyle, injury, illness, and other factors. Perimenopause and menopause can have a significant impact on muscle atrophy due to changes in levels estrogen. As estrogen decreases with age, its protective effect on muscle mass decreases, which can lead to an increase in muscle breakdown.
Strength training is one of the most effective ways to fight muscle loss. When you lift weights or use resistance, your muscles are put under stress, which causes micro-tears in the muscle fibers. After your workout, your body repairs these micro-tears by synthesizing new muscle protein, which helps your muscles grow and become stronger.
Muscle atrophy can have negative impacts on overall health for several reasons:
- Increased risk of chronic disease: Research has shown that muscle mass is positively correlated with overall health, with decreased muscle mass being associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.
- Decreased mobility: Muscle atrophy can lead to decreased mobility, making it more difficult to perform everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs, and carrying ordinary objects like grocery bags or suitcases. Decreased mobility also makes it harder to do the recreational activities we enjoy, like playing pickleball or going on walks.
- Increased risk of falls: With decreased muscle mass and strength, individuals are more likely to experience falls, which can lead to serious injuries such as fractures, and further atrophy during the healing process.
- Reduced metabolic rate: Muscle tissue is metabolically active, meaning it burns calories even at rest. When muscle mass decreases due to atrophy, the body's metabolic rate decreases, making it easier to gain weight and harder to lose it.
- Reduced quality of life: Muscle atrophy can significantly impact an individual's quality of life, making it harder to perform daily activities and participate in social and recreational activities with friends and loved ones.
One great resource for more information on the topic of the benefits of exercise during perimenopause, menopause and beyond is Amanda Thebe, author of Menopocolypse. She offers entertaining personal accounts and actionable insights for dealing with hormonal changes with exercise.
Muscle atrophy is real and not just a concern in the latest stages of life. As we age, it gets easier to injure ourselves, and while we heal we don't use our muscles as much or in the same way, leading to atrophy. It can take many hours of physical therapy and resistance training to fight atrophy and rebuild muscle.
Obshay Swirl 4 lbs was designed to make it easier to fight muscle loss by disguising as a decorative object. Obshay is always present and easy to grab throughout the day.