One observation I have noted as an instructor is that some of our ageing clients (which means most of us) really struggle to increase strength and muscle even after exercising and coming to Pilates for several years. There are some people that come to class 2 or 3 times a week and still make very slow progress. Why is that?
The answer can be one of many reasons: The amount of exercise that you actually do, the amount of effort you put in, diet, genetic factors and special conditions all play a role.
My experience indicates that in many instances it can be a case of Sarcopenia; the classic wastage of muscle caused by age. The definition of Sarcopenia found on Wikipedia is: (from Greek sarx, “flesh” and penia, “poverty”) the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass (0.5–1% loss per year after the age of 50), quality, and strength associated with ageing.
Sarcopenia is not a disease or a syndrome, and it is not always even a medical sign, because the degree to which it is normal (physiologic) versus abnormal (pathologic) is not determined. As of 2009 there is no generally accepted definition of Sarcopenia in the medical literature. END WIKIPEDIA
Basically what this means is that Sarcopenia amounts to an approximate 40% loss of muscle between the ages of 25 – 70 OUCH !!! It also means that while we lose muscle quantity and quality, we lose motor neurons that enable the muscle to contract, we lose strength and especially power, and we have a steep decline in muscle repair and recovery.
You might have noticed this if you have experienced an injury or muscle tears that took ages to heal. When the body loses muscle it also loses immune function, leaving our bodies open to ongoing health problems that can also have a massive impact on our quality of life.
Okay, I know this all sounds rather ominous and you might be wondering ‘what can you do about it’?? Exercise is the obvious answer, and is a must, as well as regular intake of high quality proteins, vitamins and minerals.
Lets look at protein, I LOVE protein, the average person needs between 20 – 40 grams of protein in EVERY meal. So often most ageing bodies are just not getting enough good quality protein and their muscles and health are paying the price. It is inefficient to eat a 500 gram steak at dinner and neglect the other meals throughout the day.
Protein MUST be consumed every meal in order to build lean muscle. You would not be getting enough protein for the body to develop muscle if you only ate it at dinnertime.
And did you know that not all proteins are created equal? Quality whey protein is the best protein that the body can absorb. It is important that you make sure it has a high concentration of branch-chained amino acids that help with the detoxification of the body and enables you to build and maintain lean muscle.
Even with all of the Pilates that I do, I found, as I was getting older, it was getting harder to keep building my strength. With the addition of high quality vitamins, minerals and most importantly whey protein (undenatured from happy cows in NZ) I have been able to increase my lean muscle and strength by easily 20% and I am pretty excited about that. This has taken my body to a whole new level of health.
If you would like to find out more on how to increase your intake of quality proteins call me to discuss how our program can help you age more gracefully, build lean muscle, make you stronger and healthier.
Gallery Arcade Grebe Street
Peregian Beach Shopping Village
Sandra 0409 625131