Importance of retaining muscle and bone mass
As we age our capacity to retain muscle and bone mass becomes diminished for a few reasons:
Firstly, we tend to become less active and this means we don’t load the body as frequently as we should. ‘If you don’t use it, you lose it’ is certainly true in the case of retaining muscle and bone mass!
Secondly, we get a reduction in the amount of our muscle and bone building hormones, thus our ability to maintain muscle and bone, especially when combined with inactivity, can become an issue.
Thirdly, the capacity for our body to use nutrients as efficiently becomes reduced, this means that we are not getting the same nutritional bang for our buck as we did in our teens, twenties and thirties. This shouldn’t be a problem in our forties but the foundations we build now will help us retain muscle and bone mass protecting us into later life.
The fact is that we are quite lucky… these issues can occur potentially leading to increased risk of fractures, reduced mobility and a lower quality of life into older age. However, men can still grow muscle, improve bone mass and actually increase several markers of health even when we may consider ourselves as being past our peak.
Muscle mass is also an important determinant in our day to day energy usage, losing muscle can impact on our ability to maintain a healthy weight and lead to increased levels of body fat. This not only adds extra stress to the joints leading to degeneration, but also increases the risk of other diseases such as diabetes, cancers and heart disease. Excessive body fat itself directly converts testosterone to oestrogen through a process called aromatisation, enter stubborn body fat areas & the dreaded ‘Dad Bod’! This can become a vicious circle as body fat is where aromatase, the enzyme responsible for the process actually lives. Therefore, you can see how important improving body composition is to supporting healthy testosterone levels too!
Taking care of our health is the foundation on which our lives should be built. If we follow a few simple rules, such as taking care of our nutrition, employing the correct training methods and proper supplementation, we can also ensure that for many of us we can actually use this period of our lives to improve our physique, health and performance beyond what we have even accomplished in our twenties and thirties! Looking at this picture with my Dad, i’ll be interested to see how I measure up against my boys in another 25 years time when i’m the same age as he is currently!
I am a personal trainer in his 40’s who works with clients of all ages and levels of ability and disability to help improve strength, fitness, health and their quality of life.