Monday, May 2, 2022

Loss of muscle is a major health problem :

We undervalue the importance of our muscles and many people see them as simply being something a bodybuilder has and like to shows off. Yet the condition of our muscular system is vital to our health. Unused and unchallenged muscle tissue shrinks with each passing decade leaving both men and women vulnerable to losing their strength, mobility and ultimately their independence in the last chapter of their life.

This loss of muscle is a major health problem and is one of the most significant long term threats to our health as we get older. Seen in people who do not do enough muscle building and maintaining activity muscle loss (sarcopenia) wields its debilitating effects in a slow silent fashion starting in the mid 20's. As the years pass the rate of loss accelerates further weakening its victim pushing them further into an inactive an unhealthy lifestyle.

Life today sees many of us 'sitting' for long periods during the day, every day. Our bodies pay the price: the weakening of muscles and bones and the stiffness of joints that we sometimes blame on aging are really nothing more than the direct effect of inactivity.



One of the oldest forms of exercise can prevent this happening. Strength training exercise can easily recover lost strength. As much as 10-20 years of disuse can be recovered in as little as two months with a proper strength building and maintaining exercise program. Many older adults have negative thoughts and attitudes towards strength training but this soon vanishes when they experience the value and benefits of strength training as one of the best preventative medicines available.

It is important to understand strength training exercise is not walking, running, gardening, or 20 minutes 'on the bike'. Any activity that involves contracting your muscles repeatedly with little to no resistance does not even prevent muscle loss and can never ever rebuild it. Activities that involve low intensity movement are just part of living an active lifestyle but do not replace a proper exercise program.

Strength training is so effective you can think of it as the Fountain of Youth as when you do it your muscle and bones are forced to continually renew themselves. When they are challenged they release 'growth and repair; hormones that sweep away old worn out cells and tissues and replace them with new tissue that is younger, stronger and healthier.

It seems strange that people worry about getting a life threatening disease such as cancer or having a heart attack when they get older when a much bigger threat to their health is stalking them. Weakness caused by muscle and bone loss is what stops older people from remaining as strong, active and energetic as they should be and also exposes them to disease and injury.

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