Monday, April 23, 2018

The Role of Muscle Mass in Weight Loss

The importance of muscles

Your muscles not only keep you in shape but also maintain your health and wellness, in particular your body weight. Your muscles are essential for life. Muscle protein is dynamic when it is converted into amino acids. It repairs your body cells and tissues. It helps fight infections. It carries oxygen (in the form of hemoglobin) to your cells. It transports calcium and iron in your blood. It controls your weight (your muscles burn calories while you sleep—one pound of muscle burns 30 to 40 calories a day).

More muscle means less fat. More muscle means less inflammation (excess fat producing more cytokines, responsible for artery, joint, and tissue inflammation). More inflammation means more plague in arteries (greater risk of heart attack and strokes, as well as memory loss). More muscle means more body strength, greater mobility, and less risk of developing diabetes later in life.

Your muscle is important. Use it or lose it!

A study on master athletes at the University of California indicated that muscle mass has little to do with age. In other words, you could still have the same amount of muscle mass as someone who is 10 to 20 years younger than you are. Muscle mass is anti-aging. Do weight training or workout without weights to preserve your muscle mass and keep you in shape to look forever younger.

Women, in particular, benefit more from weight training, because they have less muscle mass than men have, and adding more muscles means burning more calories.

Loss of muscle mass

As you age, you muscle protein dwindles. An average person loses half a pound of muscle and gains a pound of fat a year. Between 30 and 60, you may expect to lose 15 pounds of muscle and gain 30 pounds of fat (if not more). That will put you not only out of shape, but also in health hazards.

Loss of muscle mass may be due to the following:

Increase in cortisol (a hormone for regulating your blood sugar, blood pressure, immune function, and inflammatory response), which breaks down muscle mass

Decrease in growth hormone (stimulating growth and cell reproduction) and testosterone (male and female hormone)
Increase in fat (more fat, more inflammation, and less muscle mass—a vicious cycle).

To prevent loss of muscle mass, continue to build your muscles even as you age. The human body is perfectly capable of getting the exercise it needs with very little extra equipment. For instance, even a simple towel can be used as one of the most effective and versatile fitness accessories for strength and flexibility training to enhance your muscle mass.

Important muscle groups to target

As you age, weight training should specifically target the following muscle groups for prolonged independence and continuous mobility:

Back, knee, pelvic floor. (important for your sexual function, bowel and urinary control)

Shoulder joint and shoulder rotator cuff to stabilize shoulder movements

Remember, exercise, not medications, is the single most effective choice against heart disease. Exercise and muscle mass keep you younger for longer.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau




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