Can We Regain Muscle Mass Lost at Age 50 or 60? – Best of the Bone
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Can We Regain Muscle Mass Lost at Age 50 or 60?

Posted by Doctor Lucas on

The good news about aging muscles. You can rebuild them, even if you are middle-aged or older.  Both exercise and diet can play a significant role.

“Our lab and others have shown repeatedly” that older muscles will grow and strengthen, says Marcas Bamman, the director of the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In his studies, men and women in their 60s and 70s who began supervised weight training developed muscles that were as large and strong as those of your average 40-year-old.

But the process of adding muscle works differently in older people than in the young, he said. Therefore, it is important to focus on body composition and building lean muscle while avoiding injury in order to increase body fat and muscle tissue.

Skeletal muscles are composed of various types of fibers and “two things happen” to those fibers after we reach middle age, Dr. Bamman says. Some die, especially if we have not been exercising our muscles much. Sedentary adults can lose 30 to 40 percent of the total number of fibers in their muscles by the time they are 80, Dr. Bamman says.

Others of the fibers remain alive but shrink and atrophy as we age.1

We increase the size of our atrophied muscle fibers with exercise.  In short, older muscles will become larger and stronger if you work them, Dr. Bamman says.

The key, he continues, is regular and progressive weight training.  Or resistance training at home or join a gym.  High intensity workouts are also shown to increase metabolism and increase muscle tone.  In order to initiate the biochemical processes that lead to larger, stronger fibers, Dr. Bamman says, you should push your muscles until they are exhausted.

In his studies, volunteers used weights calibrated so that the lifters could barely complete a set of eight to 12 repetitions before their arms or legs grew leaden and they had to rest. They repeated each set two or three times and visited the gym three times per week. 

Is pushing your muscles to exhaustion the only solution?  No question that exercise helps.  First, don't let your muscles atrophy.  Use them.  That may mean walking, some brief, high intensity running.  Some push-ups.  Second, as we all know, diet is a critical element to maintaining muscle. bone and joint health.  After all, you have to feed your muscles.  And if your joints or bones can't take the stress of a workout you are less apt to engage in physical activity.  

That's where diets rich in certain types of proteins, fats and select carbs such as some important starches that you may find in sweet potatoes, yams, etc.  The multi-tasker food is bone broth.  Rather than a supplement, bone broth is a complete food high in minerals, amino acids and collagen protein.  Collagen protein is a critical element for bone health and muscle health.  In one control group study spotlighted previously, the group fed the bone broth with the vegetarian diet showed a significant increase in bone density and muscle mass within four weeks of use - vs the group eating the same diet and same exercise but no bone broth.  Bone broth provides the gelatin and healthy fats needed to increase absorption of your nutrients as well as helping you burn fat.  Long cooked bone broth such as Best of the Bone (slow cooked for 48 hours) is packed with glucosaminoglycans - elements such as glucosamine and chondroitin which are sold as supplements.  These nutrients benefit joint health and reduce swelling within the joints.  

To improve you muscles: exercise and diet and don't forget a good nights sleep : )

Best of the Bone gelatin bone broth protein


1 - NY Times Magazine Dec 2016

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