Muscle Mass Is Important for Overall Health. Here’s How to Build It.

Muscle is far more important than “just looking good” or “being strong.” While being stronger is certainly a valuable part of having a healthy amount of muscle, building lean muscle is important for the overall health of your body and most importantly your bone mass density.

As we age, our body muscle mass decreases.  After age 30, you can expect to lose 3-8% muscle mass per decade, and this percentage increases further after the age of 60.   Loss of muscle mass may account for more fatigue, weight gain, and increased risk for fracture.

Muscle burns more calories than fat even when at rest: Research suggests that a pound of muscle will burn 3x more calories than a pound of fat will at rest.  This means even when you are not working out, your body will burn more calories just by having more muscle.  

Muscle can also improve coordination and balance and help prevent falls and injuries from occurring.  Building a strong core will allow you to improve your posture and keep your spine aligned.  Building muscle will also contribute to strengthening your bones and connective tissues.  Studies show that the stress put on your bones during a strength training activity triggers your bones to actually grow more bone.  Not only does this contribute to building bone mass, but also prevents you from losing it, resulting in stronger, more dense bones. 

Ways to Build Lean Muscle

  • Aim to do 2-3x a week of Strength Training Exercises:
    • Lifting with low weights and high rep counts
    • Using your own bodyweight to do Lunges, Planks, and Squats
    • Power Yoga
    • HIIT workouts
  • Engage in Isotonic and Isometric Exercises:
    • Isotonic Exercises: Tricep Dips, Crunches, Push-ups
    • Isometric Exercises: Warrior Poses, Wall Sits, Boat Pose, Glute Bridge
    • *Aim for a mix of isotonic and isometric exercises in your fitness regimen. If you’ve got achy joints, aim for more isometric exercises. Hold for 30 seconds to start with and work your way up to more time.
  • Target Multiple Muscle Groups:
    • Side Plank Rotations, Burpees, and Mountain Climbers will target multiple muscle groups at once, giving you more results for your efforts.  
    • If the above exercises are not for you, then focus on exercises that do not require as much jumping or movement, such as the Isometric Exercises listed above. 

Recovery for your Muscles

  • Stretching: Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight.
  • Active Recovery Exercises such as a short walk or light bike ride can help with circulation and refuel your muscles faster.
  • Self-Massage using a foam roller to ease tight muscles.
  • Take an ice bath followed by a hot shower to constrict and dilate your blood vessels; pushing waste products from the tissue.
  • Replenish your Amino Acids.  Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein. They fuel muscle gain and other physiological functions, including enzyme production, hormone regulation, cognitive ability, neurotransmitter balance, metabolism, and energy production.  We recommend Thorne’s Amino Complex.

We can help.

Physical Therapists are Movement Specialists with extensive knowledge of how the body moves and recovers. We can help design an individualized exercise plan to help you safely reach your goals, considering your specific movement patterns and health status. This is only one way that we work to fulfill our Mission to Inspire you to Live, Work and Play Better.

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By |2021-05-13T15:11:22+00:00May 13th, 2021|Exercise, Healthy Living|Comments Off on Muscle Mass Is Important for Overall Health. Here’s How to Build It.

About the Author:

Ashley Gardner
Ashley Gardner is currently a Patient Care Coordinator within our Provider Relations Department. Ashley is passionate about spreading the message of who we are at Onondaga PT, helping to coordinate between our team and your referring physician to provide the best care experience possible, and educating the community about PT through our social platforms.
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