Still on the lines of our hormone theme is the question of what causes age related muscle atrophy (also known as sarcopenia), this is a question Jackson had.
Basically there are two things going on with age related muscle loss.
1) Lack of use
2) Lower anabolic hormone levels as we age
There hasn’t really been a generation of people who have lived a muscle building and weight training lifestyle for their entire life. Even many of the fathers of bodybuilding have given up with weight training as they’ve aged. So we really don’t have too many examples of people who have stuck to weight training their whole life. (which is a shame and I think a big mistake)
I think my generation will be one of the first to have a significant amount of people who will lift weights for their entire adult life…so we’ve still got decades to go before we get to see what the results of a lifetime of weight training really are!
This is kinda sad because we know scientifically that one of the only things we can do to stop (or slow down) age related muscle loss is weight training. If anything you should be doing more weight training as you get older not less. And it doesn’t matter when you start. Even if you’re 50 years old and you’ve never lifted weights before it’ll still have dramatic effects.
So you better start.
The #1 thing you can do to maintain a youthful body and appearance is weight training, hands down. It stimulates the muscle cell repair and growth as well as improving neuromuscular function, balance and overall quality of life, not to mention the positive effects in can have on your mind and emotional states as well.
So lifting weights is essential to preventing muscle loss as you get older.
The next part is hormones.
As you age your muscle building hormones start to decline (testosterone and growth hormone).
It’s already becoming popular among older celebrities to dose growth hormone in an effort to recapture some of their youthful body appearance and feel. I would also suggest testosterone as a viable option for older males as well.
In the next 10-20 years I fully expect physicians to be using various anabolic hormones to help keep muscle mass, tone, strength and vigor at more youthful levels in the aging population.
It will likely have a big impact on the quality of life as the baby boomers becomes older and move into their 60’s 70’s and beyond.
Hormonal replacement therapy along with weight training could go a long way to keep a youthful looking and feeling body far into the golden years.