The dreaded side-effects of aging. You know them; you hate them, yet, you can’t run from them. Or can you? Muscle loss is a common side-effect of aging, but does it have to be? Today, we’re discussing why muscle loss can happen, how you can avoid it, and how you can even reverse the side effects of muscle loss.
Why Am I Losing Muscle Mass?
Losing muscle mass is one of the most dreaded side-effects of aging. You work for years on your figure, just for it to go away the older you get? Just doesn’t seem right! While losing muscle mass is to be expected as you get older, a rapid loss in muscle mass can be a sign that something is wrong. Below are some reasons why rapid muscle loss may happen:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Chronic disease
- Neurologic deficits
- Adverse reaction to a medication
- Autoimmune disease
If you’re experiencing rapid muscle loss and are unsure as to why, it’s important to speak with a doctor sooner rather than later. Getting to the bottom of why you’re experiencing muscle loss will help you get the treatment that you need.
What Happens When You Lose Muscle Mass?
Losing muscle mass, especially rapidly, can lead to side effects.These symptoms are typically not caused by the loss of muscle mass itself but rather by what caused the loss of muscle mass in the first place. Recognizing the signs of muscle loss can help you get the treatment that you need. Some of those signs include:
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Frequent urination
Again, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to speak to a medical professional as soon as possible. Early treatment can help you avoid more significant issues down the line.
Do You Lose Muscle Mass As You Age?
Unfortunately, losing muscle mass is a common side-effect of aging. This is a process known as sarcopenia, which most experts agree is natural. After hitting 30, you can expect to lose as much as 3% to 5% of muscle mass per decade. In fact, most men will lose about 30% of their muscle mass during their lifetimes.
Those who suffer from sarcopenia have an increased risk of having a low-trauma fracture from a fall, which can have disastrous consequences. While it may feel as if this muscle mass is gone forever, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. There are things you can do to regain muscle mass, even as you get older.
Is it Possible to Regain Muscle Mass?
The best way to regain muscle mass is to live a healthy lifestyle. This seems obvious, but it is the simplest and most ideal way. Experts recommend exercises such as weight and resistance training are the best way to rebuild muscle mass. These exercises also help increase bone mass, which is key to remaining mobile as you age.
To build muscle mass, you need a healthy diet that is packed with protein. High-protein foods such as fish, chicken, turkey, and certain vegetables can enhance your strength-building efforts. In fact, your diet is the most important factor when it comes to regaining lost muscle mass. No matter how often you work out, you will not see the desired results if you aren’t eating properly.
How to Regain Muscle Mass After 60
Let’s call a spade a spade. It’s much more difficult to regain muscle mass once we hit a certain age. Once we hit the big 6-0, it can feel next to impossible to regain muscle mass. However, here are some of the things you can do to boost muscle growth:
- Get professional help - If you can afford it, getting help from a professional trainer can help you get the most out of your workout routine.
- Listen to your body - If your body is aching, listen to it. Don’t overextend yourself, as that can lead to injury.
- Stay hydrated - Staying hydrated before exercising is increasingly more important the older we get.
- Stay social - You may not think about socializing when thinking about exercise, but working out with a partner can make the process easier and keep you accountable.
How Long Does it Take to Recover Muscle Mass?
The science regarding our muscles and gaining muscle is incredibly complex. Because of that, it’s difficult to put a specific time frame on how long it may take to regain muscle mass. If you were muscular before losing muscle mass, it’s much easier to pack that muscle back on.
When you experience muscle loss, you’re not necessarily losing the number of muscles you have; rather, the muscles you do have are getting smaller. The cells that retract during muscle loss become active during the initial training process. By exercising and eating properly, you are reminding these cells that they exist.
What Vitamins are Good for Preventing Muscle Loss?
Vitamins play a huge role in our health. For the most part, we can get the vitamins that we need through our diet and by simply going outside. Some of the most important vitamins for muscle gain include:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
If you have any vitamin deficiencies, supplements can help.