muscle matters

Muscle health is often a good indicator of aging and staying active


Muscles are the largest part of your overall lean body mass (or LBM), which is everything that makes up your body except fat. In fact, your muscles typically make up 50 to 60 percent of your body weight. The role of your muscles goes beyond just allowing you to move and balance. Healthy muscles are also essential for your physical strength, organ function, skin integrity, immunity and wound healing. For this reason, healthy muscles are key to enjoying and achieving all of life’s opportunities as you age.

Muscle health can often tell you how you will age and remain active and independent. Therefore, it is important to understand what muscle health is and how it affects your life. DR Irfan SheikhChief, Medicine and Scientific Matters at Abbott’s Nutrition Store shares things you need to know about your muscles and muscle health.

muscle mass in old age

From the age of 40, adults can lose up to 8 percent of their muscle mass per decade. After 70 years, this rate can double. In fact, muscle loss is also accelerated by poor diet, illness, and chronic diseases. Muscle loss can affect your energy levels and mobility, increase your risk of falls and fractures, and even slow recovery from illness or surgery. You can move easily and keep your body strong with healthy muscles. They support your daily activities like exercising, dancing, walking the dog, swimming and other things that require physical exercise. Your joints can function better when you have strong muscles. You may be more prone to knee injuries if, for example, the muscles around that knee become weak. Muscle health also helps maintain balance.

muscles and immune system

If you want to build a strong immune system and reduce your risk of bacterial and viral infections, don’t underestimate your muscles. Muscle tissue plays a role in activating immune cells, and people with lower muscle and strength levels have reduced immune function. To improve your immune health, take a look at your overall diet and focus your meals on lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans, and low-fat dairy. Together, these foods provide micronutrients such as calcium, Vitamin DIron and antioxidants, which may help keep your immune system strong and rejuvenate muscle health.

muscle breakdown and recovery

Your muscles are a crucial source of strength and energy when you are recovering. When you’re sick or hospitalized, your body often doesn’t get enough of the nutrients it needs to recover, such as protein, which causes it to break down muscle tissue. This type of muscle wasting is associated with delayed recovery from disease, slower wound healing, and reduced quality of life.

Recognize loss of muscle mass

The good news is that grip strength is an easy way to assess your overall muscle strength — by simply squeezing an orange or noting the firmness of your handshake, you can determine your muscle strength.

Rebuild muscle and strength

Muscle loss is natural, but the rate of progression and negative effects don’t have to be. There are simple steps you can take to slow muscle loss, support a healthy lifestyle, and keep doing the things you love to do. Best of all, it’s never too late to regain muscle and strength or fight the symptoms of an infection caused by muscle wasting. This can be accomplished through a combination of strength exercise and a complete, balanced diet with adequate protein and nutrients.

On the nutritional front, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and vitamin B3 are some key nutrients to maintain muscle health. Regular monitoring of muscle strength is also essential. You can test your motor skills and find out how good your muscle strength is and know what to do sooner to prevent and delay muscle loss and strength.

Muscle plays an important role in many aspects of life, and there are many effective ways to test and improve your strength. Talk to your doctor about healthy options for maintaining muscle loss.

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