Friday, November 4, 2016

Strength Training and Increased Protein Intake is Key to Good Health as You Age

Research is now revealing what life-long weight lifters have always known, and that is maintaining your muscle mass is key to staying healthy and strong as you age. The importance of muscle mass, strength, and metabolic function in the performance of exercise, as well as the activities of daily living has never been questioned. However, the role your muscles play in whole-body protein metabolism is less recognized.

Your muscle plays a central role in your whole-body protein metabolism by serving as the principle reservoir for amino acids to maintain protein synthesis (growth and regeneration) in vital tissues and organs in the absence of consuming enough protein in your diet. In other words, if you don't get enough protein in your diet, your body breaks down your muscle mass in order to make the necessary amino acids you need to survive.

Additionally, new research points to a key role that muscle metabolism plays in the prevention of many pathologic conditions and chronic diseases. Loss of muscle has been associated with weakness, fatigue, insulin resistance, fractures, and frailty. Thus, many of the degenerative conditions that are associated with aging are caused by poor muscle health.

The natural loss of muscle mass as a result of age is called Sacopenia, and it can begin in your 30s. Left unabated this condition accelerates with time as your body starts tearing down old muscle faster than it can build new muscle tissue. The good news is you can slow and in some cases reverse muscle loss as you age through regular weight lifting exercise, and getting the right amount of protein in your diet.

Scientific research is showing that weight lifting is one of the most effective ways of building and maintaining muscle mass as you age and here's why. Lifting weights is a method of overloading your body through exercise with a resistance that you are not accustomed to handling.  In response your body adapts to this overloading process by building stronger muscles to accommodate the new demands. Research says that by the time you reach middle age you should start lifting weights at least 2 times per week to retain your muscle.

Getting the proper amount of protein in your diet to maximize the results of weight lifting adds to the effectiveness of building and maintaining your muscle mass as you age. Protein is a necessary part of every living cell in your body. Next to water, protein comprises the greatest portion of your body weight. Protein substances make up your muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs, glands, nails, hair, and many vital body fluids. Your body uses the protein you eat for the vital functions of survival first before it devotes any for muscle building and repair. Thus if you are not consuming enough protein in your diet optimal muscle building and repair is impossible.

While 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight has been the old the normal recommendation for daily protein intake, new studies show that 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight may be more beneficial in building, maintaining, and reducing muscle loss. The goal of protein consumption should be to optimize muscle growth and repair and studies now reveal that consuming 25 to 30 grams of protein at each meal is necessary for this to take place.