I came across this great article on the loss of muscle commonly seen with aging, called sarcopenia. I liked the article because it so clearly explains that muscle loss is part of aging but it does not have to be. However, it’s not just aging that causes sarcopenia. When you lose weight, especially large amounts, you are at a higher risk for this same condition that is usually seen with aging. Since most people want to feel younger with weight loss, this is one of the hidden but essential parts of getting what you want from weight loss. Here are some common misconceptions that cause many to miss out:
I am active so I will stay strong: Staying active is great and associated with greater health and longevity. However, exercise is time set aside to practice. Just like any other skill, if you don’t practice, it starts to fade. Strength training is setting aside some time each week to give your muscles the level of challenge they need to tell them to stay strong. Activities of every day life are generally just not focused and consistent enough to counteract sarcopenia .
I get enough protein so I should not be losing muscle: If you took a class to learn to play guitar, but never practiced, would the class work? Getting enough protein is like taking a class. Doing strength training is like putting in the time to practice what you learn in class. Doing strength training “activates” the protein to do its job and keep muscles strong.
I do cardio so my legs are strong: Cardio uses a small portion of muscle fibers. Strength training maximizes the number of muscle fibers you use. The more fibers you use, the more you get to keep. Cardio just does not preserve muscle as well as strength training.
Don’t let weight loss age you! Do quality strength training as a regular part of your exercise routine.
Keep Moving, Be Well,