Is stooping increasingly becoming an ordeal these days? Need to think twice before you stretch out your arms to reach the high shelf? Cannot make swift moves without the risk of tripping over or hearing few obvious creaks of your bones now and then? Are you prone to frequent falls of late? We bet we have invited few eye-popping souls and couple of raised eyebrows out there who would want to find it all from us as it sounds oh so familiar!
Amidst the probability of a plethora of reasons that are capable of inducing the aforesaid symptoms, the tell-tale signs are highly indicative of age-related skeletal muscle degradation rearing its ugly head as you welcome yet another new year with pomp and gaiety.
Ever wondered what makes your skeletal muscles all puny and infirm as you start aging? Let’s figure out what causes age-induced muscle mass degeneration in humans and what can we do to boost and restore our fragile skeletal muscles to their erstwhile healthy state and successfully reverse their associated ramifications:
Skeletal Muscle Loss – A Harsh Reality of Aging
As much as we would want to have those skeletal muscles brimming with life till the end of our life, the harsh reality is that the wise 40s often signal the onset of Sarcopenia or a natural decline in the mass and tissue quality of the muscles. Loss of skeletal muscle, also known as Muscle Atrophy, is a common fall out of progressive aging.
As one starts to age, the propensity to go slack on physical exertion becomes a regular phenomenon. An inactive lifestyle or a daily routine devoid of sufficient physical activity and agility is linked to gradual waning of the muscle mass and subsequent weakening of the skeletal muscle since it loses the mass that is so essential for it to exert or withstand appropriate force. And not to forget the feeble or damaged nerves which cause Neurogenic Atrophy, a condition represented by stimulation of the healthy muscle and their subsequent shrivelling.
Skeletal muscle loss, apart from being excruciatingly painful with increasing severity, also renders you debilitated with a poor quality of life characterised by restricted movements and enhanced chances of inflicting self-injury or damage while attempting physical activities. The situation worsens with time with temporary disability giving way to long-term physical impairment.
What Happens to the Body During Skeletal Muscle Loss?
During atrophy of muscles, the body loses its normal balance between protein synthesis and protein degradation. The protein synthesis pathways tone themselves down while the protein degradation pathways become active. The latter is responsible for wasting of skeletal muscle as the innate proteasomes destroy specific proteins through the process of ubiquitination.
Age-related Sarcopenia is characterised with shrinking of muscles, gradual replacement of muscle fibres with fat, excessive fibrosis, oxidative stress and fragility. Skeletal muscle has different types of muscle fibres with distinct variants of ATP-dependent motor proteins or Myosins. Myosins are responsible for facilitating muscle contractions and other motility processes. Sarcopenia decreases the circumference of the Type II muscle fibres with little or no impact on Type I fibres.
The satellite cells are the ingenious powerhouses that are capable of regenerating the skeletal muscle fibres. Failure of satellite cell activation is also believed to cause skeletal muscle loss as these cells fuse with the muscle fibres and maintain their normal functioning. Furthermore, continual aging endorses augmentation of non-contractile oxidised proteins which pile up in the skeletal muscle tissue and hinder muscle strength and its mass – all leading to poor muscle function.
So, now that we know the underlying factors that trigger lean muscle loss as we start aging, it’s time to explore few ways to combat the age-related symptoms effectively:
Indulge in Exercise – Your Potent Natural Therapy
The famous adage of ‘If you don’t use it, you lose it’ could not be truer here and you cannot help but admire its relevance to your skeletal muscle too that starts losing its flexibility and vigour with long-standing disuse. Now you know right why the doc told you to get into action as fast as you could after that prolonged spell in bed following a sudden fall and a subsequent fracture? As much as it sounded annoying back then, it was all to ensure that your dormant skeletal muscles were back with a bang and did not forget what they were meant to do since inception.
Exercising regularly can galvanize the pathways that encourage muscle hypertrophy or an increase of skeletal muscle mass and demote the ones that have a reverse effect. It activates the myosatellite cells which foster muscle growth and repair. While exercise is effective in any form, yet strength training or resistance training like Pilates and Weight Lifting are thought to be particularly beneficial as they can coax the skeletal muscles to demonstrate an enhanced ability to synthesize proteins. Over time, one notices improved physical endurance and high fitness levels for a longer duration of their lifespan with habitual exercise. So, let go of your sedentary lifestyle and say ‘Hello’ to an active one from here on.
Snooze Well for a Toned Body
After such gruelling trainings, your body sure requires adequate rest to recover itself from the excessive exertion. Sleep is the best remedy to help your body convalesce as it possesses anabolic properties which nurture muscle growth. Sleep cultivates growth of new muscle tissue and maximises the production of growth hormones. It replenishes the critical neurotransmitters like dopamine, adrenalin and noradrenalin which go a long way in building your muscles efficiently and promoting effective muscular contractions.
No wonder sleep deprivation accelerates muscle wasting and prolongs the body’s natural recovery process by reducing the time at hand for repair and growth.
Balance Your Skeletal Muscle with a Balanced Diet
Our diet too undergoes a sea change with age as the body’s natural metabolic capability loses its zest with piles of extra pounds make headway for the petite waistline. Okay, you sure did make a smart move by altering your diet to cater to the weakened metabolism but are you sure you are consuming a balanced diet with adequate nutrients and proteins to keep malnutrition at bay? Nothing can undermine the quintessential role of a balanced diet in your muscle enhancement regime as muscle wasting has a positive correlation with malnutrition and starvation.
An appropriately measured high-protein diet is a ‘must have’ to compliment your rigorous workouts for effective muscle gain and to endow you with that perfectly sculpted body that you have been yearning for years now – one that can make you look and feel years younger than you actually are! Eggs are a rich repository of proteins that are adept in accumulating skeletal muscle masses like a pro.
Egg yolks are rich in Vitamin B12 that aids muscle contraction. Almonds are equally beneficial as they are replete with the goodness of Vitamin E which works in tandem with your intense workout sessions and keeps the aftermath of free radical damage at bay. Tofu, soybeans, peanuts, legumes, fish and dairy products are also rich sources of protein and flatter your muscle augmentation routine. Splatter your salad with generous doses of olive oil and yoghurt as both can pump up those muscles when they begin to fade away.
Zinc and iron are known for their role in building up muscles. So, don’t shy away from the occasional beef splurge as it will supplement you with these valuable minerals.
Laugh Your Years Away with Supplements
Lastly, embrace the potent effects of supplements to infuse liveliness into your deadbeat skeletal muscles. Protein supplements enrich your muscles with vital amino acids and increase muscle protein synthesis. B-hydroxy b-methylbutyrate is also available as a dietary supplement and found useful in combating and reversing skeletal muscle loss.
Additionally, excessive muscle loss is linked with diminishing growth hormone and testosterone, both of which follow suit with on-going aging. Tongkat Ali or Eurycoma Longifolia is a completely natural supplement and a renowned testosterone booster. Regular consumption of Tongkat Ali supplements can boost your energy levels by restoring free testosterone levels, enhancing muscle strength and supporting skeletal muscle gains.
There you go…few secrets revealed. Leverage them today to counter the dampening effects of your biological clock on your purposeful skeletal muscles and exhibit a youthful exterior and a zesty inner soul for years to come.