Use It Or Lose It, The Importance of Lean Muscle Mass

Lean body mass consists of biologically active tissue including muscle, bone, nerve and vital organ tissue. These have a greater calorie-burning capacity than fat tissue. When we lose lean body mass (LBM) we unfortunately lose the most active tissue. This changes our metabolism which naturally declines with age anyway. Loss of lean body tissue, known as sarcopenia, also causes a loss of muscle strength which declines by 8-16% per decade after the age of 50. The combined loss of muscle power and strength can eventually lead to greater difficulty in performing simple everyday task such as climbing stairs, walking or getting up from a chair. The loss of strength also increases the chance of injury from falling.
Older bodies have been found to be less efficient at building muscle than younger people and researchers also noted that blood flow in the legs also decreased with age, depriving the muscle of nutrients. A study by researchers at Nottingham University England found that by introducing three exercise sessions per week for 20 weeks, blood flow to the legs increased and muscle wasting was reversed.
Similar research at Tufts University found that the two main biomarkers of age were muscle mass and strength. Maintaining muscle as we age can significantly improve our physiology, improving overall health and functionality. The benefits of maintaining muscle mass also mean a faster metabolism which burns more calories

Written by Progressive Medical