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Old 12-16-11, 07:16 AM   #1
TomD77
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Article on elimination of age related muscle mass loss

Found this article on exercise and age related muscle loss though I suspect that here on the 50+ forum, it will be preaching to the choir.

Intro paragraphs below, you can read the entire article here (link)

80-Year Olds With 40-Year Old Muscle Mass - What's Going On?

By Dr. Mercola
Increasing physical frailty as you age is commonly accepted as "a fact of life."
Until recently, most studies showed that after the age of 40, people typically lose eight percent or more of their muscle mass with each passing decade.
But newer research suggests that this is not a foregone conclusion.
One recent study of 40 competitive runners, cyclists, and swimmers, ranging in age from 40 to 81, found no evidence of deterioration -- the athletes in their 70s and 80s had almost as much thigh muscle mass as the athletes in their 40s.
Quoted in the New York Times, Dr. Vonda Wright, who oversaw the study, said:"We think these are very encouraging results…
They suggest strongly that people don't have to lose muscle mass and function as they grow older.
The changes that we've assumed were due to aging and therefore were unstoppable seem actually to be caused by inactivity.
And that can be changed."
Other recent studies have had similar results. For example, in an animal study from last year, elderly sedentary rats put on a running program developed new satellite cells after 13 weeks. These cells are specialized stem cells known to repair and build muscle tissue
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Old 12-16-11, 07:24 AM   #2
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Tom,
As I understand the studies I have read this also applies to bone mass for both men and women. Some physical activity for either sex as we age is beneficial in keeping the bone density and muscle mass we need to stay healthy, fit and sane(well maybe not all of us get that one I guess.) I know when I got back on my bike after all the surgeries I gained muscle mass quickly in my thighs and calves and tightened up the abdominals. This is an ongoing process for me after all I lost. Good read and nice post!

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Old 12-16-11, 08:14 AM   #3
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http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fit...1216_FNL_art_1
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Old 12-16-11, 08:20 AM   #4
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It looks like several threads here are addressing the issue of continuing health as we age. No surprise there of course. Seems to me it all comes down to exercise (aerobic and weights), less calorie intake and healthier food.
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Old 12-16-11, 08:25 AM   #5
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What is frequently forgotten is intense resistive exercises, in the pursuit of aerobic exercise.
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Old 12-16-11, 08:36 AM   #6
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What is frequently forgotten is intense resistive exercises, in the pursuit of aerobic exercise.
So true. My attitude used to be all about aerobics. Now my approach is much more balanced. I have the type of body that "wants" to bulk up so I have to be aware that there are limits to lifting for me. I try to stay with high reps rather than high weights.
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Old 12-16-11, 08:41 AM   #7
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So true. My attitude used to be all about aerobics. Now my approach is much more balanced. I have the type of body that "wants" to bulk up so I have to be aware that there are limits to lifting for me. I try to stay with high reps rather than high weights.
Yes, - however, the research shows intense, lifting to max is most beneficial.
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Old 12-16-11, 09:15 AM   #8
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Yes, - however, the research shows intense, lifting to max is most beneficial.
Agreed. My "problem" is that having been a competitive athlete I seem to be "programmed" to want to do more each time I do anything. I've had to learn to moderate. Which is why I limit myself to one or two Time Trials a week rather than trying to be faster every time I get on the bike. It's a recipe for burnout for me. It's a personal adjustment I have to make.
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Old 12-16-11, 09:21 AM   #9
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Interesting discussion. Protein turnover in vivo was a research interest of mine back in the day (postdoc). It's a little known fact that the total protein turnover rate in muscle is in the 2-5% per day range (depends on which muscle you're talking about). The gastrocnemius muscle, important to cyclists, has a relatively high turnover rate IIRC. What this means is that every day, 2-5% of muscle protein is synthesized (from amino acids of course) and, if muscle mass is in balance, the same percentage is degraded. This involves expenditure of a great deal of metabolic energy just to maintain muscle protein stasis. On its face it would seem to be enormously wasteful. What would be the point of that I hear you ask?

One major benefit is that when there is a shift in rates of proteins synthesis and/or protein degradation, the net effect on total protein mass is very great. Much greater than if protein turnover rates were much lower, e.g. 0.1% per day or 0.01% per day. The math is easy enough to do. As a general rule in metabolism, whenever there is constant cycling going on (with large energy expenditure) you know that there is a high level of regulation involved serving a key function.

Me, I'm 60 and haven't exercized much in a long time for reasons I won't bore you with - all just excuses really. My muscle protein mass is relatively low, much less than it used to be. But now that I'm back into cycling (on the MTB mostly), my rates of protein synthesis in the gastrocnemius and other muscles are up and my rates of protein degradation are down (probably not as much tho'). As a result, muscle mass in my legs, mostly protein involved in contraction (myposin, actin, troponin, etc), is increasing rather rapidly.

The evolutionary value of all this is obvious enough. While muscle protein is a critical souce of energy in times of food deprivation (keeps you alive for a while), loss of strength/stamina is a dangerous thing out there in the jungle and as soon as more food becomes available it's important to regain muscle mass (and thus strength) RAPIDLY to keep your distance from those who would eat you for dinner, to feed the family etc.

As you age, total muscle mass tends to decline of course but the ability of the body to shift the balance towards net total proteins synthesis remains. Cycling is an excellent way to accomplish that shift.

And besides, it gets you out of the house ......

Last edited by ChasH; 12-16-11 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 12-16-11, 09:45 AM   #10
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What is frequently forgotten is intense resistive exercises, in the pursuit of aerobic exercise.
Dnvr, the study I was refering to actually concentrated on weight lifting for those over 50 years of age. The women's bone density increases were pretty dramatic, as I recall. The men gained significant amounts also. The difference was attributed to the men already having significant resistive exercise in their daily lives than the women they studied. So the women had new resistive exercises adding to the stress and rebuilding of the bone tissue. I believe this wholeheartedly and I am using some resistive free weight work in my recovery.

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Old 12-16-11, 10:10 AM   #11
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Now, if there were only some way to deal with the memory and attent---- Oh Look! A Squirrel! A Squirrel! What was I talking about?
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Old 12-16-11, 10:56 AM   #12
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The previous generation(s) just did not exercise as they got older. Pretty simple to understand why they lost muscle mass.
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Old 12-16-11, 12:01 PM   #13
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Now, if there were only some way to deal with the memory and attent---- Oh Look! A Squirrel! A Squirrel! What was I talking about?
Good one.

Learning a new language or returning to education does delay mental health issues in 50+ adults.

I've read other reports (I'll need to look for them) that indicate that geriatric adults can reduce muscle loss through exercise, but some muscle loss is still inevitable.

I’m a strong believer in exercise, ample activity and social interaction, good nutrition and sufficient rest to help maintain overall health. Keeping this kind of activity at a sufficient level is key to quality of life.
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Old 12-16-11, 12:59 PM   #14
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Got inspired by this thread so today when I went to the gym I cranked up the weights a bit. Decided that I will do that once a week. Today it was 3X10 leg extensions at 150 lbs (machine weight) and 3x10 hamstring curls at 130 lbs. along with the usual 30 min. on the spin cycle and 3x10 curls at 30 lbs. (each arm free weights). Did some other machines too but the aforementioned is part of my regular routine. As always, it feels good afterward.
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Old 12-16-11, 02:26 PM   #15
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Talk about timing - I just got back from my parents house, where my mother told me all about the visit this morning from an Occupational Therapist that the VA had sent over.

Some might remember that I have mentioned in past postings that my 84 yo Dad has Alzheimer’s. He would be perfectly happy to sit in his chair all day, every day, watching TV. He ended up in the hospital with blood clots in his lungs last spring because of inactivity. He also fell many times. The local hospital Doc’s said he must be made to move every day. All that sitting caused his muscles to atrophy, and he was very weak. Strengthen his muscles and his balance will improve.

We all agree, so, I go over 5 days a week, and my sister goes over 3 days a week, to walk up and down the driveway & do his exercises that the Doc’s gave him. He will only do 5 laps of the driveway, and gets flustered with the exercises, getting his legs mixed up. We found a fitness club that will work with him on-on-one twice a week, but that is a lot of $$$. What he really needs is a trained person to work with him.

That’s where we hoped the VA would come in. After years of not taking advantage of the VA benefits, my Mom finally went to the local VA to ask if she could get phyisical therapy a couple times a week for him. (On top of what we do) After filling out reams of paper work & many appointments, one Dr gives him a wheel chair and says to use it in the house, that will prevent falls. Another Dr sends over the Occupational Therapist. The OT walks around the house and says they must install grab bars in all the door ways, put a ramp on the single step into the garage, and on the 4” step to the porch, put grab bars on the side of the bed, a swivel & glide chair in the shower, and those stair rise chairs on the stairs.

These are all things he can still do unassisted; up & down the stairs, in/out of the shower, get out of bed. We’re thinking, the easier we make it for him, the less work his muscles will get, and the worse he will be. (Just to be clear, I’m not saying we are going to make him do things he cannot now do.) It is very frustrating! Improve his strength, his balance improves, and he willing to move more because it will be easier for him, but the professionals don’t seem to agree. I will have to print out the article and show it to those doctors.

Sorry for the length of the post.
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Old 12-17-11, 07:27 PM   #16
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Missjean,
Check with local support groups and churches/synagogues for volunteer teams that will help you get the disability aides done to his home. Many of the items save the ramp materials are even available at Lowes, Home Depot or other hardware stores now, and you can get them online, too.

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Old 12-17-11, 07:53 PM   #17
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The previous generation(s) just did not exercise as they got older. Pretty simple to understand why they lost muscle mass.
Previous generations worked until they died, and often in physically demanding jobs.
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Old 12-17-11, 08:03 PM   #18
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Don't overlook two factors that if permitted can have significant impact:
>There is a societal bias against "seniors" being fit. "You have earned the right to retire" is code for you are old now sit down and get out of the way. Or, if someone has bought into this nonsense they don't want you to be different. How to handle? Like AA teaches; select your friends and companions.
>There is lots of money involved in perpetual medical care. Many in the medical and health industries are more interested in keeping a person as a patient than helping them become independent and then taking that flow of funds with them.
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Old 12-17-11, 08:18 PM   #19
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Somewhere along the line, I think that maybe genetics got overlooked in all this.
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Old 12-17-11, 08:36 PM   #20
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Here is the study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22030953

(rather than having to go to Mercola's off-putting site)

Keep in mind that the people in this study were life long athletes.

Chas, interesting post!
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Old 12-17-11, 09:51 PM   #21
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Somewhere along the line, I think that maybe genetics got overlooked in all this.
Oooo, yes, the good old genetics card. Throw it in when all other explanations are wanted to fail. It's a good one in the Clydesdale and Athenas forum.
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Old 12-17-11, 10:29 PM   #22
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Somewhere along the line, I think that maybe genetics got overlooked in all this.
Certainly genetics are important for a lot of things. But, as we learn more, within the context of this thread, it is becoming apparent that genetic characteristics are for the most part predispositions, not declarations of fate.
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Old 12-18-11, 12:14 AM   #23
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Here is the study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22030953

(rather than having to go to Mercola's off-putting site)

Keep in mind that the people in this study were life long athletes.

Chas, interesting post!
Quote from above referenced study: This study contradicts the common observation that muscle mass and strength decline as a function of aging alone. Instead, these declines may signal the effect of chronic disuse rather than muscle aging.

Last edited by TomD77; 12-18-11 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 12-18-11, 07:40 AM   #24
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Oooo, yes, the good old genetics card. Throw it in when all other explanations are wanted to fail. It's a good one in the Clydesdale and Athenas forum.
Well, there is plenty of research on genetic influences so I would not call it a "card."
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Old 12-18-11, 11:44 AM   #25
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Well, there is plenty of research on genetic influences so I would not call it a "card."
IMO, the genetics part is a given for any of us. The message is to start at the point of your genetic makeup and go forward. To that extent the question for me is "What are you going to do with what you've got?"
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