8 Ways Losing Muscle Affects Your Health
Muscle loss is common in older adults. Here's how that can affect your health.

8 Ways Losing Muscle Affects Your Health

Preventing age-related muscle loss is key to maintaining your good health.

Versatile to the core, muscles are the ultimate multitaskers. They enable movement, support organ function and boost metabolism. But it's a fact of life that we start to lose our muscles when we get older.

But what happens if you lose too much muscle?

"You have more than 600 muscles in your body, which accounts for up to 40 percent of your body weight — that's almost half of you," explains Suzette Pereira, Ph.D., a researcher specializing in ageing and muscle health at Abbott. "While ageing is natural, losing too much muscle is not and can directly impact your mobility, strength and energy levels, immune system and even organ function."

Advanced muscle loss, or sarcopenia, is one of the most important health problems facing the elderly, according to the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders. Muscle loss doesn't happen overnight, but it's important to pay attention to what your body is telling you.

From Lean Muscle to Muscle Loss

If you're out of breath by the time you reach the top of the stairs, walking slower than normal, have recently been ill — or even hospitalised — and have lost weight, then you might be losing muscle.

The Hindustan Times reports that up to 71 percent of Indians have poor muscle health, likely due to protein deficiency. While it's easy to attribute a protein deficiency to a vegetarian diet, poor muscle health is as likely to be caused by sedentary lifestyle, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Muscle loss is common, but sarcopenia is serious. Sarcopenia can begin affecting your body when you're in your mid-40s, when strength and muscle mass begin to decline. Research has found that muscles become smaller and weaker and frailer as you age, the Hindustan Times reports, which can lead to frailty and even disability. And the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders reports that sarcopenia affects about 10 percent of men and women over 60.

Keeping in Shape

Just because muscle loss is a natural part of aging doesn't mean you can't work to prevent it. There are plenty of easy lifestyle adjustments you can make to ensure you're staying strong and healthy as you age.

  • Exercise regularly, including cardio and resistance training.
  • Aim to eat a source of lean protein with every meal.
  • Include various sources of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats in your diet.
  • Talk to your doctor about taking a supplement like HMB — beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate — a naturally occurring compound that supports muscle health.

By being proactive, you can help keep your muscles healthy so you always have the strength you need to do all of the things you enjoy.

Disclaimer: This publication / article / editorial is meant for awareness/educational purposes and does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any Products. Please consult your doctor/ healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication or exercise.

What Are the Risks of Losing Too Much Muscle?

Losing too much muscle can have many deleterious effects on your health. When you lose muscle, you're less mobile, which means you're more prone to falls; the World Health Organization reports that falls are the second leading cause of accidental injury and death worldwide and that adults older than 65 years of age suffer the greatest number of fatal falls. Losing muscle can also increase your insulin resistance, putting you at greater risk of developing diabetes.

However, there are ways to age-proof your muscles, primarily by following a simple diet and exercise plan. Research published in The BMJ suggests that lean muscle mass — not fat mass or BMI — may be the best predictor of health status and longevity. Keeping your muscles healthy enables you to stay active and strong — so you can do the things you love.