Aging is associated with the loss of muscle. This is especially so for women in the menopausal and post-menopausal years, as estrogen helps maintain healthy muscle tissue. So conversely, loss of estrogen results in the decline of our lean muscle mass and quality of muscle.
The fact is, we lose about 10% of muscle mass per decade, which increases to 15% per decade in our 50s and beyond. Thanks a lot menopause 🙂
Several studies in recent years, however have shown us that the decline we may see can actually be reversed. The most revolutionary study was published in 2007 and was completed on elderly, frail participants, over age 90 who, in some cases, were functioning with as little as 30% muscle mass. On average, women between 40-70 yrs have between 60-70% of their weight as muscle. The results of the study showed that a 6-month resistance training program helped participants gain a 170% increase in their strength and regain 12% of muscle mass.
How Does this Relate to Aging?
Well, remember “mitochondria” from high school biology? They are the “cell powerhouses” that create energy.
A National Institute of Health study showed that healthy older adults typically show evidence of mitochondrial decline and muscle weakness, but that this can be partially reversed by following six months of resistance exercise training. This means that strength training can not only slow down but can reverse the aging process at the genetic level.
- Our ability to perform regular daily activities, like getting up out of a chair, carrying groceries, lifting heavy things in your house
- Our balance. Muscle and skeletal structures work together to keep us standing straight and balanced. Without balance, we risk falls which can turn into lengthy rehabs or worse.
- Quality of life, including our ability to travel to interesting places, go hiking, walk around cities, and more.
- Consistent weigh training twice per week at a minimum, using weights that are 60-80% of your 1 rep max (the heaviest weight you can lift one time).
- Make sure you are consuming enough protein. As we promote in the transform 6 program, we highly recommend getting 30% of calories from protein and ensuring that they are evenly dosed throughout your day, to be sure you always have circulating aminos in your bloodstream.
- Seek sources of the amino acid leucine, which may play a role in stimulating muscle growth and preventing muscle breakdown in the body. Commonly eaten foods (chicken, beef, pork, tuna, eggs, milk, and cheese) are good sources of leucine. It’s also available in amino acid supplements.
Also in This Issue:
Try This! | Garden Zucchini Fritters
Zucchini is fresh and readily available at this time of year! Annette Maggi, MS, RD, LD, FAND and Chief Science Officer at b-untethered shares this new fav recipe that she’s using with all the zucchini she gets from her CSA. Make a batch or two and enjoy for breakfast topped with eggs, at lunch or dinner as a side to a grilled protein, or plain as a snack.
Women Who Inspire | Rachel Wexler
Rachel Wexler, 50, real estate professional, divorce coach, and mother to three sits down with us to talk loss, love, and starting over. Rachel is the founder of Compassionate Divorce Coaching where she helps others through some of the toughest times of their lives. In real estate, she has also won several awards including 3 Gold Salesmaster Awards. We are humbled by your excellence, Rachel!