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"The Science Behind Age-Related Muscle Loss and Strength Decline"

muscle loss and strength decline

As people age, exhibiting muscle mass becomes more challenging due to several physiological and lifestyle-related factors:

  • Sarcopenia: This is the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength. Sarcopenia typically begins around the age of 30 and accelerates after the age of 60. It's caused by a combination of factors including reduced nerve cells, decreased hormone levels, and a decline in the body's ability to synthesise protein.

  • Hormonal Changes: Hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) play significant roles in muscle development and maintenance. As people age, the levels of these hormones decrease, making it harder to build and retain muscle mass.

  • Protein Synthesis: The efficiency of protein synthesis, the process by which cells create new proteins, declines with age. This means that the body is less efficient at repairing and building muscle tissues, which can contribute to muscle loss over time.

  • Physical Activity: Many people become less physically active as they age due to various reasons such as lifestyle changes, health issues, or a decrease in overall energy levels. Reduced physical activity leads to muscle atrophy, as muscles require regular exercise to maintain their size and strength.

  • Nutritional Changes: Older adults often experience changes in appetite and digestive efficiency, which can result in inadequate protein and calorie intake. This can further exacerbate muscle loss since proper nutrition is essential for muscle maintenance and growth.

  • Metabolic Changes: With aging, the basal metabolic rate (BMR) decreases. This reduction means fewer calories are needed to maintain basic bodily functions, which can contribute to the loss of muscle mass if dietary habits are not adjusted accordingly.

  • Recovery and Injury: As the body ages, it takes longer to recover from physical exertion and injuries. This slower recovery can make it more difficult to engage in regular strength training or high-intensity workouts necessary for building muscle.

  • Chronic Conditions: The prevalence of chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases increases with age. These conditions can limit physical activity and further contribute to muscle loss.

Addressing these challenges involves maintaining a consistent exercise regimen, focusing on strength training, ensuring adequate protein intake, and possibly seeking medical advice to manage hormonal levels and chronic conditions.


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