How Do You Stop Muscle Loss as You Age?


There are many dreaded side effects of aging, one of them being muscle loss. The older we get, the more and more difficult it becomes to not only develop muscle but keep the muscle that we already have. Luckily, there are things that you can do to not only reverse muscle loss but prevent it altogether. In this article, we will go over some of the major causes of muscle loss, how you can prevent it, reverse it, and the symptoms of muscle loss. 

What Causes Muscle Loss?

Muscle loss commonly referred to as muscle atrophy can happen for many different reasons - some of which preventable some of which not. Luckily, you can reverse the effects of muscle atrophy with exercise and dietary changes. A better understanding of what causes muscle loss can help you prevent it from happening. Here are some of the common causes of muscle loss:

  • Poor nutrition - Poor nutrition can lead to several different health conditions including muscle atrophy. Diets low in lean protein, fruits, and vegetables can lead to reductions in muscle mass. Malnutrition-related muscle atrophy may develop as a result of medical conditions that impair the body’s ability to absorb nutrients
  • Age - The older you get the fewer proteins your body is able to produce. These proteins help promote muscle growth. This reduction causes muscle cells to shrink, resulting in a condition known as sarcopenia. Sarcopenia can also cause weakness or frailty, poor balance, difficulty moving, and lower endurance
  • Genetics - There are genetic disorders such as spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) which can cause a loss of motor nerve cells and muscle atrophy. Muscular dystrophy refers to a group of progressive conditions that cause loss of muscle mass and weakness. Muscular dystrophy occurs when one of the genes involved in protein production mutates. A person can inherit genetic mutations, but many occur naturally as the embryo develops
  • Neurological problems - An injury can damage nerves that control the muscles, resulting in muscle atrophy. When this develops, the muscles stop contracting because they no longer receive signals from the nerve

Some common symptoms of muscle atrophy include having one arm shorter than the other, weakness in one limb, difficulty balancing, and remaining inactive for an extended period. 

How Do I Stop Losing Muscle Mass?

Muscle loss with age can be common however, it can be reversed and even prevented. Most of the time, muscle loss can be prevented by simple healthy lifestyle changes. Here are some of the steps you can take to prevent muscle loss:

  • Eat protein-rich foods - Recent research has found that adults can lose up to 8% of muscle mass each decade after age 40. One of the main reasons this happens is because older adults don’t get enough calories, protein, and amino acids. Foods such as eggs, chicken, turkey, fish, and beans can get you the protein that you need
  • Work out - Regular exercise and weight training activate signals in the body that calls for muscle growth. Studies have found that men and women who begin weight training in their 60s and 70s can develop muscles as large and as strong as people in their 40s
  • Sleep - Sleep helps your body regenerate itself after a workout. Experts recommend adults get 7-9 hours of sleep each night
  • Don’t cut carbs - The keto diet may be a popular trend, but it’s not recommended for older adults. Research shows that for older adults, a combination of protein and carbohydrates before and after a workout can help build muscle
  • Get vitamin D - A lack of vitamin D can impact your body’s ability to build muscle
  • Limit your alcohol intake - Excessive alcohol can make you dehydrated, which can affect muscle function and development

Not only will these lifestyle changes help prevent muscle mass loss, but they can also help you live a longer, healthier, happier life. 

How Long Does it Take to Regain Lost Muscle?

Your body and your muscles can be unforgiving when it comes to a loss in muscle mass. Research has found that going two weeks without working out can almost derail any progress you have made in terms of muscle development. Experts believe that it may take you triple the amount of time you were inactive to regain the muscle mass that you lose after a two-week fitness hiatus. 

A Danish study in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine gathered 17 active men in their twenties and 15 active men in their sixties. Each participant had one of their legs immobilized for two weeks. After two weeks of inactivity, all the participants lost physical fitness and muscle mass. However, the younger set lost about 17 ounces of muscle and 30 percent of their muscle strength, while the older men only lost about nine ounces of muscle mass and 20 percent of their strength.

Can You Reverse Muscle Atrophy?

Muscle wasting or atrophy is usually caused by not being able to regularly exercise your muscles. Your inability to move may be due to an injury or an underlying health condition. Fortunately, muscle atrophy reversal is a thing and it is possible to reverse the effects of muscle loss. Here are some of the popular treatment options:

  • Exercise
  • Physical therapy
  • Ultrasound therapy 
  • Surgery
  • Dietary changes

Physical therapists can teach you the correct ways to exercise. They can also move your arms and legs for you if you have trouble moving. Surgery may be able to correct contracture deformity if your muscle atrophy is due to malnutrition. It may also be able to correct your condition if a torn tendon caused your muscle atrophy. If you believe a medical ailment is contributing to your muscle loss, please speak with your doctor. Muscle loss can be a symptom of health disorders. 

Supplements Can Help

In recent years, spermidine has boomed in popularity as researchers are beginning to better understand the positive impact it has on our bodies. It triggers a cellular process known as autophagy, which renews the brain cells to function at their highest efficiency. This process helps prevent cognitive decline and some of the other negative effects of aging. 

The positive impacts of spermidine-induced autophagy and spermidine supplementation have been studied worldwide. In addition to boosting our brains’ cellular health, spermidineLIFE offers remarkable supplemental support for the health of our immune system, heart, bones, muscles, weight, hair, liver, and overall longevity.


  • Don Moxley - Director of Applied Science

    Don Moxley is the Director of Applied Science at Longevity Labs. Moxley draws upon his career as an athlete, a sports scientist, and an instructor to lead and educate on the science of autophagy and longevity.