Preventing Muscle and Strength Loss As We Age

By Jarah Breese BAppSc (Ex&SpS) MSc High Performance Science

Elements For Life Director and Exercise Scientist.


As we get older our muscles can start to feel like they’re getting weaker and fading away. This is termed muscle wastage or age associated sarcopenia. Muscle wastage starts to accelerate the older we get and the less active we become resulting in loss of strength. In fact, research has shown a decline of around 3% per year after the age of 40. The main factors causing muscle wastage are the lack of stimulus to the muscle such as physical activity, decreased protein intake and consuming a lower amount of calories each day.


This scan shows an active 70 year old and an inactive 70 year old. There is a large difference in muscle mass which is directly correlated to strength. The inactive person will have a much harder time getting out of chairs, walking and enjoying any recreational activities such as golf and tennis. The inactive person will also have a higher chance of falls, fractures. obesity, decreased balance, decreased ability to recover from sickness, fatigue and be more susceptible to joint pain and degeneration.

The best treatment for muscle wastage is a combination of exercise, specifically weight training and consuming more nutrient dense proteins.  The scientific evidence suggest a simple,  guided exercise program that comprises of basic movements with correct form such as squatting, pressing, pulling and deadlifting (picking a weight off the ground) is one of, if not the most effective interventional strategies to enhance muscle size, strength, endurance and quality of life in as little as two weeks. This in conjunction with an increase in protein consumption can yield great results. Helping you feel stronger and more energised throughout your day and perform better at any activity or sport that you love to do.


How does weight training improve muscle strength and gain?

When you perform resistance exercises such as a squat or push-up, the muscle sustains microscopic damage. Your body then goes to work and repairs the damaged fibres, increasing their size and contractibility. This gain in size and improved activation increases your strength. Weight training also increases the connectivity from your brain to you muscles, which also increases strength. There is a positive effect on your hormones too, increasing testosterone and growth hormone which increases the ability for your body to turn the protein that you eat into muscle.


How can you make this work for you?

Professional guidance from an Exercise Physiologist, Exercise Scientist or an experienced personal trainer to provide you with the appropriate exercise program to follow is the first step to feeling much better, stronger and increasing muscle.


How does increased protein help?

Proteins are made up of the building blocks for muscle called amino acids. With adequate amounts of amino acids in the blood stream the body is able to most efficiently repair and grow muscle. The problem is most older adults are not meeting their daily protein targets making it more difficulty for the muscle to grow.


How can I easily and safely increase my protein intake?

A simple way to increase your protein intake is to use a high quality protein shake with 34 grams of protein per serve like Muscle Formula. Muscle Formula is different to every other protein shake on the market because it only uses a Hydrolysed protein which is rapidly absorbed compared to other protein shakes and has a high amount of the amino acid Leucine. Leucine has been shown to be a crucial amino acid in building and maintaining muscle. Elements For Life developed this formula specifically for older adults to support increased muscle size and strength.


It's a great time to get motivated. Start small, slowly build up and you will see some amazing benefits. I guarantee you will have a new lease on life! 


Get in contact with your experienced and qualified  Exercise Physiologist or personal trainer to help design a program the gets you the best results in the safest way possible. If you have any further questions feel free to send us a message via our contacts page.