Issue 8.30.22 | Can Strength Training Reverse Aging?

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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. 

So, why is this important? 
 
Well, the obvious is that we want our bodies to remain youthful, pliable, and strong. We know that, over time, if we do not do something to strengthen and stress our muscles, we will continue to lose strength, which can affect all aspects of life including: 
  • 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.
 
It all starts now. 
 
What’s great is that the gains in “older people” (which includes all of us reading this article) come very quickly. You don’t need to spend hours in a gym. You need 2-3 strength sessions per week, for roughly 20-30 minutes per session. So, we’re saying between 40-90 minutes in your entire week. Isn’t that worth it? 
So, what can we do?
 
  • 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.
To preserve that great body of yours, make absolutely sure you have a strength training regime in place. Start NOW! 
 
Sources:

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