Why we lose muscle mass and strength with age and what you can start doing about it today
Ever wonder why you’re not recovering as quickly as you used to, why your joints feel a bit “worse for wear,” and why your training routine isn’t bringing you the returns it did when you were 20?
These are all valid questions!
With age, our bodies change and our muscles change. We must understand what to tweak to best manage our changing bodies and keep them strong and resilient. Everyone is going to age.
The key is to maintain our health span as we lengthen our life span. Maintaining our muscle mass, strength and functionality are vital to age well.
I reached out to Dr. Stuart Phillips to discuss the topic of muscle loss related to aging, how this can impact our functionality and quality of life, and what we can do about it.
Dr. Stuart Phillips is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and a member of the School of Medicine at McMaster University. He’s also the Director of the McMaster University Physical Activity Centre of Excellence (PACE). If you’ve read any research about skeletal muscle protein turnover, chances are you’ve read one of the 230 original research papers he has authored! His research is focused on the impact of nutrition and exercise on skeletal muscle protein turnover. In addition, he has a keen interest in diet- and exercise-induced changes in body composition, particularly in older persons.
Dr. Phillips’ enthusiasm for science is awesome. Although he could have dove into the granular scientific details on every topic we discussed, I noticed he kept zooming out for the big take-home messages, which is a great reminder for us all, that the basics of health and nutrition still ring true!
So often as a society we get too fixated on the next shiny new thing when the solutions have always been right there in front of us.
During the conversation we touch on so many interesting topics including but not limited to:
- Muscle and joint changes with age – What causes it? What can you do?
- Hormonal changes with age and the effects on muscle. Are supplements and pharmacological therapies beneficial? Risks?
- Growth hormone and muscle – a little story about Sylvester Stallone
- Mitochondrial changes with age – is there something to aging and improved endurance?
- What type of strength training we should incorporate as we age and why.
- Inflamm”aging” – How aging and excess body fat impacts inflammation and muscle
- Protein intake with age – how does it change and what should we do?
- Protein quality – can I get what I need from vegetarian protein?
- The power of community, spirituality, and exercise snacks.
- Dr. Phillips speaks about his path to where he is today and his thoughts on the imperfect process of life and trusting the process.
I loved this conversation as it ebbs and flows in and out of science to the big picture. I left reminded of the importance of some movement over no movement, fitting in weights regularly, the importance of social connection and so much more.
Besides being an incredible scientist, Dr. Phillips truly is a genuinely kind caring human being, and that rang through today. I hope enjoy this conversation as much as I did.
Thank you so much for listening. Please share this with your friends on your favorite social media platform and tag me @guzmannutrition on Twitter or @guzmananne on IG, and Dr. Phillips is @mackinprof on both Twitter and IG. If you have questions or comments, ask us there!
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Thank you for being part of the Imperfect Progress community. Until next time, keep putting one foot in front of the other, be here and now, while keeping your eyes up the road towards your dreams. Remember that a little movement every day adds up and will pay dividends. Keep on moving.
Listen to the episode here now!
CYCLISTS! If you’re keen on preventing bone loss and improving the quality of life for the ‘future you,’ check out my Bone Health for Cyclists Course here. Message me if you have any questions or if you’re interested in running this with a team or club. Osteoporosis is called the silent thief because we don’t feel ourselves losing bone mass. Take charge of your bone health now, so you don’t have to spend time on it later. Health span matters.