Muscles play an important role in supporting overall health and wellness, especially as we age. You may be surprised to know that age-related muscle decline (sarcopenia) may have already started in your twenties and thirties if you did not take the necessary steps to prevent it. However, the good news is that muscle tissue can be regenerated even when we’re elderly with appropriate diet and exercise.
Why Maintaining Muscle Mass is so Important
Maintaining muscle mass helps protect you against metabolic and hormonal decline, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, as well as poor cognitive function and accelerated aging. Muscle allows you to use carbohydrate calories for energy and activity and to avoid turning them into storage as fat. When your body is able to utilize carbohydrates in this way, muscle mass is ultimately protective against metabolic syndrome and diabetes, which are actually diseases of inadequate carbohydrate metabolism. Hence, the less muscle you have, the more likely you are to develop these diseases.
So, suffice it to say that muscles aren’t just for bodybuilders. The more sedentary our lifestyle, the more we see an increase in diseases related to muscle atrophy such as osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, fragile bones, and difficulty recovering from stress. When all is said and done, most of us want to hold on to our autonomy for as long as possible in order to maintain our quality of life. Building healthy muscle mass and maintaining it beyond middle age is one way to accomplish this goal.