Most women - even those who exercise regularly - don't think much about building muscle mass. Many equate being muscular with being masculine. So women often exercise with the goal of losing or maintaining weight, not building or maintaining muscle. However, it's time to change this thinking.
Muscle mass is vital to aging gracefully. And, as you may have noticed, it starts to disappear as we age. In fact, many people lose about 10% of their total muscle mass every decade after they turn 40. Here's why that can be a problem.
I've written before about how dangerous falls are to older women. In fact, many women who suffer from a broken hip never fully recover. Having good muscle mass reduces your fall risk. And if you're worried about maintaining your weight, muscle helps you do that. Finally, being strong is a key component of your quality of life. It helps allow you to continue being self-reliant for as long as you choose. Clearly, maintaining muscle mass into old age is important. But it's hard to do. Now, new research is shedding light on one of the culprits behind muscle loss, and this information will help you fight it.
A simple way to keep your muscles strong as you get older (and it isn't exercise)
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You probably know that chronic inflammation is bad for your health in general. In fact, many researchers refer to its effects as "inflammaging" because of how it impacts the aging process. Now, researchers at Örebro University and University of Nottingham in Sweden have found that it also can cause you to lose muscle mass. The researchers exposed isolated muscle cells to C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammaging and infection in the body. Previous studies have found a correlation between high CRP levels and low muscle mass, but it wasn't clear if CRP was actually the cause of the muscle loss.
Sure enough, the researchers found that CRP reduce muscle cell turnover and functionality. The muscle cells exposed to the CRP actually shrank, and the researchers also found that CRP affected the muscle cells' ability to synthesize proteins. Without this ability, muscles can't grow effectively.
This study tells us that to fight muscle mass loss as you age, you have to do things: build up muscle and decrease inflammation. Fortunately, you can do both of these simultaneously by exercising. You'll fare even better if you swap a pro-inflammatory sedentary activity like watching TV for some interval training. And you can supplement your muscle-boosting efforts with Perfect Amino powder or tablets. These products give you eight essential amino acids to help with that protein synthesis process we discussed above while supporting your skeletal, enzymatic, and hormonal systems. And don't worry - it's not going to make you look like a bodybuilder. But it will help support healthy muscle tone so that you can continue to live a vibrant, independent life for years to come.
Better Health and Living for Women,
Britta Wåhlin-Larsson, Daniel J. Wilkinson, Emelie Strandberg, Adrian Hosford-Donovan, Philip J. Atherton, Fawzi Kadi. Mechanistic Links Underlying the Impact of C-Reactive Protein on Muscle Mass in Elderly. Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry
, 2017; 267 DOI: 10.1159/000484679