Strength and Aging
I feel it, I’m getting weaker every day. Okay this is an exaggeration, but for sure I’m weaker than I was 20 years ago. Weaker means that I have less strength and this is one reason why I’m also getting slower with every year. I started to do some research and found this study1.
According to the study, from age 30 on, the body starts to slowly loose muscle mass. With 50 this starts to accelerate even more. In addition the atrophy of fast twitch muscle fibers (type II) is greater than the slow twitch muscle fibers (type I) . That’s the reason why I’m so slow. I didn’t thought too much about it. Live is busy and there are always problems to solve which seams so import. In addition the changes in strength and muscle mass are so small that is hard to notice them from day to day. One muscle fiber less who cares. I didn’t do any regular weight lifting test over the last decades to have a real comparison of my strength development/decline, but it’s not only a feeling that I lost strength, it’s real.
Causes for Muscle Loss
But what are the real cause of the muscle loss according to the study:
- decline of anabolic hormones (testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone, androgens and estrogens, etc.)
- physical inactivity
- inflammatory cytokines ( they regulate the maturation, growth, and responsiveness of particular cell populations )
- insufficient nutrient intake (loss of appetite)
- diseases (malignancy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, inflammatory bowel disease and others)
This sound complicated and it is. The interaction between all the “parts” in our bodies are still not fully understood and there is no magic pill in sight to cure all disease or stop aging.
What can be done?
In this study they state: “Strength training is one important tool to counteract this problem”.
They provide no “solutions” for the other causes.
But what is with drugs like testosterone? There are Hormone Therapies available, but this therapies should in my opinion only be done with the guidance of a doctor.
Running alone will not help me to gain strength, grow muscle (especially skeleton muscles) or at least slow down the muscle loss process. I have to seriously think about strength training. This has to fit neatly into my endurance training program.
Loss of appetite and insufficient nutrient intake is not a problem for me. But checking if my diet is ideal for muscle grow, is something I have to investigate.
With a regular medical checkup I ensure that my health state is good and therefore drugs are not necessary. Apart from that this drugs could be on the doping list and doping is nothing I want to do.