Has it become difficult for you to be physically active nowadays? Are you experiencing muscle fatigue and weakness? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be experiencing muscle loss.
The muscle in the human body is a function of age, sex, genetics, diet, and workout. Therefore, exercises that boost muscle growth can help you gain muscle mass by training your body.
In addition, research suggests that exercise is an effective strategy for preventing muscle loss and building strength and power that is widespread in our growing sedentary population.
Being strong improves the quality of life, such as going about daily tasks without feeling exhausted. It can be going through the small parts of your day like carrying a shopping bag or climbing a flight of stairs at ease. We understand the significance of these small things when we lose the capability to do them. Therefore, take charge of your muscular health now.
The HealthifyMe Note
Although muscle loss sometimes can be inevitable, it is essential to understand how to fight it. A sedentary lifestyle, rapid weight loss, lack of protein in the diet, and ageing contribute to muscle loss. In most cases, however, resistance training and a healthy diet can prevent muscle loss.
Let us first understand the basics of muscle loss and then learn about exercises that could help you prevent muscle loss effectively.
Muscle: A Crucial Body Component
A muscle is a bundle of fibrous tissue in the human or animal body that can contract to move or maintain the position of body parts. A lean body mass includes muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the less likely you will be injured or develop a chronic disease.
As you age, you can expect to lose some muscle mass. However, rapid loss of muscle mass, also known as atrophy, can suggest an underlying condition, especially when coupled with other symptoms.
Causes of Muscle Loss
It can become essential to know the reason for something that might be happening to you to reach a solution. For example, the following are common causes leading to muscle loss:
- Lifestyle-related Causes: Certain practices include a sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activity, or ageing. Ageing is the most common cause of muscle loss.
- Systemic Causes: Heredity factors, medicinal side effects, chronic diseases like cancer, and neurological disorders can also lead to muscle loss.
- Metabolic Causes: Unhealthy dietary habits, malnutrition, and endocrine problems can cause muscle loss due to metabolic mechanisms.
- Inflammatory Issues: Autoimmune ailments and chronic infections also lead to rapid muscle loss.
- Gastrointestinal Issues: The inability of the body to absorb nutrients from digested food is a prevalent reason for insufficient muscle mass.
- Psychiatric Causes: Eating disorders like bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, or any other mood disorder can also cause a disbalance of muscle mass
Importance of Preventing Muscle Loss
Putting efforts to prevent your muscle loss is linked to:
- Healthier and more graceful ageing
- Preventing illness
- A healthy body weight
- Lower chances of mortality
- Quality of postoperative recovery
- Better physical functioning
- Improved life quality
Prevention Through Movement
Taking precautions to avoid muscle loss, whether you are entirely sedentary or moderately active, is a sensible strategy that will pay off in the long run. Strong Muscles provide numerous advantages, like improved posture and quicker recovery from illness.
To avoid muscle loss, consult a healthcare professional to see what is best for you. You might also want to talk to an experienced health coach about setting objectives and creating a plan.
Exercises You Can Do At Home
Squats are an essential exercise that is simple for anyone to try out. You don’t have to lift enormous weights or use a barbell to perform this exercise.
It engages muscles throughout the body, including the calves, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and core (abdominal and back muscles). It includes deep core supporting muscles hence preventing muscle loss. Lower-body resistance training is critical for muscle preservation. The squat is also the ultimate lower-body exercise and helps with functional mobility.
Lunges and unilateral lower-body activities are great for strengthening and maintaining glutes, legs, and core muscles. Most leg activities, such as stepping over, walking, and climbing, are unilateral. Therefore, maintaining the lower body’s supporting muscles is essential for healthy ageing.
Single leg motions strengthen muscles that can get weak by sitting for long periods. Inactivity can cause these muscles to tense and weaken, resulting in muscle loss and dysfunction.
Dips as a workout exercise utilise your body weight. You can perform it at home (add weight if you wish to). Dips are among the most effective upper-body exercises when done correctly. It’s a superb way to challenge various upper body muscles at once.
Here, the targeted muscles become common whether you’re doing the chest or triceps-focused dips. Both focus on your arms, back, chest and shoulders. Bear in mind that both versions of the exercise need you to use your abdominal muscles and glutes to stabilise your body.
Push-ups help you gain strength and muscle mass. They are a type of complex exercise that work out multiple muscle groups at once. These include the biceps, triceps, anterior deltoids, and other specific muscles. Push-ups contribute to building overall body strength.
Planks are a type of resistance training exercise that helps increase muscle mass and strength. In addition, regular planking helps develop back muscles, providing firm support that also aids in the prevention of back pain.
Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar
Some research suggests that sun salutation or Surya Namaskar can develop endurance, muscle strength, and body composition. Sun salutations require no tools or equipment; simply a little space and a few minutes to complete a specific number of cycles.
Simple Exercises With Minimal Equipment
Attach a resistance band such as Thera Band onto a door and pull your shoulder blades down and then towards your back. This exercise works up the lower trapezius, an essential postural muscle, and the triceps and forearm flexor muscles.
Oblique Twist And Lift
Step sideward with the resistance band at waist level until the band is tight. Raise and drop the resistance band about 25 times while maintaining tension. Repeat the process in the opposite direction. Internal abdominal muscles, upper back muscles, and rib muscles get targeted in this workout.
Grasp a backpack or a weighted sandbag just above your knees and pull it upward with your knees, hips, shoulders, and arms (arrow). Your spine should be kept in a neutral position. The quadriceps, glutes, low back, front deltoid, and biceps are all targeted in this functional exercise.
Do not lift the bag above your head if you have a record of a shoulder injury.
Lateral Step-ups with the Weighted Bag
Place one of your feet on a 4- 6-inch platform and step up while holding onto a sturdy surface like a wall. The knee you use to step up shouldn’t twist inwards and should only bend slightly. Lateral step-ups can stimulate the hip musculature and inner quad while putting minimal impact on the knee. You can separate the hip rotators by doing a little hip hinge while moving the weight up and down.
Gym Workout Exercises
One way to effectively gain muscle is to execute several sets of lifting heavyweights. Large weights are required to engage the most significant amount of muscle fibres and thus trigger rebuilding.
However, the difficulty with lifting large weights is that while people grow older and muscle fibres die, they are replaced with scar tissue and fat, weakening muscles and tendons significantly. In addition, as muscle fibres degenerate with age, the aged are ten times more prone to get injured while lifting large weights than their younger counterparts.
While walking, loaded carriers hold a heavier weight, commonly a dumbbell, in their hands or shoulders in various ways. They’re great for muscle building, and preservation.
They are, in essence, a full-body functional workout that improves shoulder stability, grip strength, and other aspects of functioning. Loaded carries protect the core muscles that help you stabilise and balance, which allows you to avoid falls, injuries, and back aches.
While the typical deadlift primarily targets the lower back muscles, the row is a complex exercise that also focuses on the mid and upper back muscles. You can choose from several variations of the rowing exercise. These exercises are best performed using resistance bands, dumbbells, cables, or loaded barbells.
Shoulder muscles aid in rotating your arms towards the front, back, and sides, as well as supporting structure and ligaments that support the shoulder joint. Therefore it’s crucial to develop and maintain muscle in this area.
With their tremendous mobility and lack of structural support, the shoulders are among the most injury-prone parts of the body. Therefore, the shoulder press is ideal for training the shoulders as it activates all shoulder muscles and keeps them moving.
The HealthifyMe Note
Some muscle loss is natural as you get older. However, you can take steps to keep your muscles strong and toned. The idea is to do strength-training exercises and resistance training regularly.
5 Important Things to Remember
1. Do Not Under-Eat
You will lose muscle, bone, and fat if you do not eat enough calories to sustain your body weight in proportion to how much energy you burn daily, including physical activity. It can be challenging to lose fat while retaining muscle, and weight training can help you keep that muscle in such a situation.
2. Sufficient Protein Intake
You should also maintain a healthy diet and get the required protein content for your activity level. Every day, you should consume at least 0.8 grams per kilogram of weight.
Protein-rich foods like meat, eggs, fish, beans, legumes, seeds, milk, tofu, soy, homemade protein bars, and prescribed protein powders and shakes may help keep protein intake in check.
In addition, a study shows that protein consumption over the recommended daily allowances can promote muscular mass, strength, and function in the elderly.
3. Train the Right Way
Don’t continuously train on a fasting stomach. Instead, keep yourself hydrated and have light food. It’s also crucial to refuel after a workout. Taking in some carbohydrates and protein within an hour of exercise and enough beyond that to refuel will aid muscle maintenance and growth.
4. Check your Alcohol Consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption is harmful to your muscle as to your overall health. It elevates oestrogen and imbalances your testosterone, causing significant muscle loss and other adverse effects. Research suggests that alcohol use is also linked to muscle wasting, followed by the development of liver issues.
5. Rest Well
Sleep is a time for restoration when your body works to rebuild and repair itself. Make sure you receive enough rest to aid this process. Relaxation is also vital since emotional stress causes stress hormones to be produced, which implies more muscle damage.
Suppose you’re wondering why resistance training is so crucial. In that case, we must understand that it depends on how well your body performs and feels.
Adults who do not engage in frequent strength training lose up to 4–6 pounds of muscle per decade. It means that your daily activities will get more challenging to perform, regular tasks will take considerably longer, and you will more likely experience more soreness, muscle aches, and joint problems.
According to a study, resistance training and protein consumption promotes muscle growth and is a highly effective treatment for muscle atrophy associated with age and chronic conditions. Therefore, starting to train your muscles early is vital to avoid falls, injuries, and other health-related problems like osteoporosis and mobility issues.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Can you regain lost muscle mass?
A. Yes, there are ways to regain and re-strengthen muscle mass through resistance training and a rich protein diet. You can consult a nutritionist to help you with a customised meal plan and gain them back. In addition, a fitness coach can help you with exercises that can help you regain muscle mass.
Q. How do you prevent muscle loss without working out?
A. Working out is an optimal method to prevent muscle loss, and it is advised not to avoid it. A balanced meal that fulfils your protein requirement and exercising will do wonders.
Q. Why am I losing muscle so fast?
A. There are several reasons for rapid muscle loss, including malnutrition, rapid weight loss, inflammatory issues, specific chronic conditions, and the most common being ageing.
Q. Does fasting build muscle?
A. No fasting does not exactly convert to building muscle mass.
Q. Does fat or muscle burn first?
A. Your body first utilises the glucose stored, followed by fat and then muscle. Suppose you have a high-intensity workout and consume very few calories your body might burn muscle first, keeping in mind that there is a deficit of calories in your body.
Q. What are the signs of muscle loss?
A. You might feel quickly drained, sluggish, face difficulty performing daily activities, lose a lot of weight in a short time, and have random aches, pains, and frequent injuries.
Q. Can muscle loss be reversed?
A. Yes, there are ways to regain and re-strengthen muscle mass through resistance training and a protein-rich diet.
Q. Can push-ups maintain muscle mass?
A. Yes, Push-ups help you gain bodily strength and muscle mass. It is an excellent exercise to maintain muscle mass in your chest and arms. However, you should consult a fitness coach for more help.
Q. Does walking preserve muscle?
A. Walking may not be able to provide enough stimulus for your muscle fibres to train. However, brisk walking for a long continuous span may show some results.