For those of you who have been following these posts, ( thank you for taking the time to read them) you know that I´ve been focusing more and more on the topic of aging.
I´m an advocate for aging intentionally, purposefully, and powerfully. I am opposed to the idea of anti-aging. Mostly because it´s very misleading. It presents the that we can alter the inevitable outcome of aging. It also communicates that there is something wrong with aging. That we are somehow are supposed to avoid it because the only value in a person is found in their ability to stay young.
Aging is an inevitable part of life, we can't stop the passage of time, but we can take steps to age in a way that maintains a quality of life that is vibrant and fulfilling.
When it comes to longevity and quality of life, there are a few variables to consider.
One of the key variables is the maintenance of lean muscle mass. Often overlooked in discussions about aging, lean muscle is a critical player in the aging process. Let´s look at some of the benefits of maintaining lean muscle mass as you age and why it's key to aging with vitality.
1. Metabolism and Weight Management
Lean muscle mass plays a pivotal role in your metabolism. It is more metabolically active than fat, meaning it burns more calories at rest. As you age, shifts in metabolism occur which can lead to weight gain. However, if you maintain or even build lean muscle, you can counteract this shifts. A higher metabolic rate allows you to maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of obesity, a condition often linked to various age-related health issues.
2. Improved Bone Health
Skeletal muscles are not just responsible for movement; they also help support your bones. As you engage in strength training and resistance exercises to build and maintain lean muscle, you're putting stress on your bones, which, in turn, prompts them to adapt and become denser. This contributes to better bone health and reduces the risk of osteoporosis and fractures, common concerns for older adults.
3. Enhanced Functional Independence
Maintaining lean muscle mass is directly tied to your ability to perform everyday tasks independently. Whether it's carrying groceries, climbing stairs, or getting up from a chair, muscle strength, also known as functional strength, is a determining factor. As you age, these tasks can become more challenging, but with a strong foundation of lean muscle, you can retain your functional independence, maintaining a higher quality of life.
4. Protection Against Chronic Diseases
Heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension are just a few of the chronic conditions that become more prevalent as we age. However, regular exercise, specifically resistance training to build lean muscle, has been shown to reduce the risk of these diseases. Muscle helps regulate blood sugar, lowers blood pressure, and improves heart health, making it an essential component of a holistic approach to aging.
5. Enhanced Cognitive Function
A growing body of research suggests that there is a connection between muscle health and cognitive function. Physical activity, including strength/resistance training, has been associated with improved memory, cognitive flexibility, and overall brain health. Maintaining lean muscle mass can help protect against age-related cognitive decline and may even lower the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.
6. Emotional Well-Being
Exercise, including resistance training, releases endorphins, the "feel-good" hormones. Staying active and building lean muscle can help combat depression and anxiety, which can become more prevalent as we age. It's not just about looking good; it's about feeling good in your own skin.
The benefits of maintaining lean muscle mass as you age are clear and wide-ranging. It's not just about looking strong; it's about being strong, both physically and mentally. Lean muscle mass is your ally in the battle against many age-related challenges, from metabolic changes to chronic diseases to cognitive decline. If you haven't already, consider incorporating regular strength training and resistance exercises into your routine to maintain and build lean muscle. Your future self will thank you for it as you age with vitality and grace.
Looking for some direction in how to set up and maintain a training program? Reach out!!
Here´s to discovering a healthier happier you!!