By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
August 30, 2017
- Are weak muscles keeping you from activities you used to enjoy?
- The best anecdote for muscle weakness
- An easy way to power up your strength and stamina
I can’t even tell you how many people coming through my office doors express one single wish… “Doc, I just wish I could still do all of the things I used to do.”
You know exactly what I’m talking about.
Maybe summertime picnics used to be filled with your participation in volleyball, soccer and touch-football games. Now you’re feeling weak and out-of-shape… so you just sit at the sidelines and watch the younger adults play.
And perhaps those household chores aren’t so easy anymore. These days, you have a hard time hauling an old couch out the front door, let alone spending an entire day trimming trees and hauling the branches out to the curb for pickup.
It’s all so exhausting!
But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can revive your weak and tired muscles to regain the strength and energy you had in your younger days.
The Best Anecdote for Muscle Weakness
There’s no doubt about it. As we humans grow older we tend to lose muscle strength.
Unfortunately, the more muscle you lose, the less likely you are to participate in activities that require physical exertion. As a result, muscle mass declines even further. Talk about a vicious cycle!
There are two things you can do to prevent muscle-wasting – a condition called sarcopenia – as you age.
The first is to get moving. There is no better anecdote for muscle weakness and low muscle mass than good old-fashioned exercise.
Our bodies were designed for movement. We walk, twist, bend, lift, climb, stand, push, jump and perform all sorts of physical tasks in our daily lives. This means it’s important to exercise every single part of your body on a regular basis. Chair squats, wall push-ups,and supported lunge exercises are some of my favorites.
These exercises use your own body weight to engage muscles and boost muscle mass. Plus, they’re movements that strengthen the muscles your body uses every single day.
But there is something else that’s just as important.
An Easy Way to Power up Your Strength and Stamina
Lack of exercise isn’t the only reason you lose muscle strength and mass as you age.
As you get older, your ability to synthesize protein declines. This is a double whammy when it comes to preserving physical power and stamina.
The end result?
Between the ages of 50 and 60 muscle strength decreases about 1.5% each year. After that, the loss rises to 3%. This can easily lead to physical disability and frailty in later years.
However, you can curtail this loss by boosting your protein intake and eating it at regular intervals throughout the day. As a matter of fact, people who evenly distribute protein intake across their daily meals have greater muscle strength and physical performance.
Some foods that are high in protein include wild-caught fish, pastured eggs, organic pasture-raised poultry and plain organic Greek yogurt.
Additionally, I often recommend my patients supplement with a plant-based protein powder they can mix into a shake. This is a quick and easy way to enhance your protein intake. And you can kick into even higher gear when you take a few nutritional supplements with your protein drink.
For example, when older men took a combination of specific nutrients with their protein supplements twice daily, they increased muscle mass by 700 grams in just six weeks – without exercise! This is the same amount of muscle they would normally lose in a year.
And when the men added high-intensity interval exercise training to their daily routine, the muscle gains were even greater.
The added nutrients included:
- 1.5 grams of creatinine
- 500 iu vitamin D
- 400 mg calcium
- Omega 3 fatty acids (700 mg EPA, 400 mg DHA)
The bottom line: If you want to remain strong and active in your later years, it’s extremely important to build up as much muscle mass as you can – while you still can. The more muscle strength you have now, the more of a chance you have of warding off sarcopenia and physical frailty in your later years.
von Haehling S, et al. An overview of sarcopenia: facts and numbers on prevalence and clinical impact. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 2010 Dec; 1(2): 129–133.
Farsijani S, et al. Even mealtime distribution of protein intake is associated with greater muscle strength, but not with 3-y physical function decline, in free-living older adults: the Quebec longitudinal study on Nutrition as a Determinant of Successful Aging (NuAge study). Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Jul;106(1):113-124.
Robinson S, et al. Nutrition and sarcopenia: a review of the evidence and implications for preventive strategies. J Aging Res. 2012:510801. Epub 2012 Mar 15.
Bell KE, et al. A whey protein-based multi-ingredient nutritional supplement stimulates gains in lean body mass and strength in healthy older men: A randomized controlled trial. PLoS One. 2017 Jul 18;12(7):e0181387.