THE ABSTRACT OF THE SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE, “Nutritional strategies for maintaining muscle mass and strength from middle-age to later life: a narrative review” in the February 2020 issue of the journal Maturitassummarizes the results of a review by scientists looking for evidence that early nutritional interventions might improve later life circumstances when it comes to preserving muscle. Athletes looking to enjoy their sport as masters might wish to take note.
The findings of a number of scientific studies were examined in this study and discussed to help guide future dietary prescriptions aimed at maintaining muscle tissue and strength in individuals as they age, or perhaps, even reversing losses.
Nutrients discussed include:
Diet will help this process by supplying adequate amounts and types of building materials, as well as substances that allow effective synthesis of muscle tissue and which prevent excessive breakdown. The details of such research studies are what fuel some to follow certain whole food diets or shop for expensive concentrated supplements.
The bottom line appears to be that a magic dietary formulation for saving the muscle we have in middle age as we grow older has yet to be identified. Building and maintaining a healthy amount of muscle is likely always to involve persistent strength training. We will need to work at it over the decades, not just for a season or a specific competition.
Initially I was a bit disappointed by the conclusion; it wasn’t unexpected. Truly amazing findings would have made the headlines last year when the paper was e-published ahead of print. Many of us would have responded and cleared the pharmacy or grocery store shelves of items that promised to deliver easy results.
The hopeful news is that scientists are looking for shortcuts to healthy body function in old age now. They admit that the only proven remedy for too little muscle, up to this point anyway, is exercise. We have a chance to keep what muscle we’ve got if we pay attention to this fact and persevere with resistance training over time. This way we’re covered regardless of the results science delivers.
The thought of needing to strength train FOREVER in order be strong into one’s 80’s and nineties may be discouraging. However, the Earned Runs philosophy of physical activity to achieve significant and meaningful health benefits fits perfectly with this prescription. By committing regularly to consecutive challenges, sometimes planned a year or more in advance, hitting each mark, building on each success, the path to reaching that long-term goal is smoothed and made accessible.
Getting on this path is as easy as requesting a bib set and using to to record a year’s worth of progress and victories.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
Alfonso J. Cruz-Jentoft, Bess Dawson Hughes, David Scott, Carrie M. Sanders, Rene Rizzoli. Mauritas 132 (2020) 57-64.
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Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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