PFTL News December 2020


Clients who have returned to the studio have reported that they feel very safe in the space. We will continue to monitor all people who enter the studio, require masks and wipe down all surfaces constantly.

Several clients have opted for virtual training.  This can be done easily using Zoom or Facetime.  If you want to get back into a fitness routine, this is a good way to do this while in your own home.

We are also developing a free stretching class that will be available through Zoom.  It will require registration, but no cost.  Look for more information soon. It will be appropriate for all fitness levels.

We are aware that several clients would like to return, but do not feel comfortable wearing masks while exercising.  I hope we can relax this requirement sometime in the future, however, it is too early to do that yet.  COVID is still very active in Cook County (and the US, as well), so it will be some time before we will change that precaution.

Why We Lose More Muscle As We Age- And What To Do About It  (Excerpted from Livestrong 9/2020)

It’s a common frustration that many older people face: I’m not as strong as I used to be. What gives? Well, it turns out there’s a name for it. This age-related loss of muscle mass and strength is called sarcopenia.

And, unfortunately, it happens to just about everyone. Generally, muscle loss begins around age 50, per the Cleveland Clinic, and about 50 percent of adults will experience it by their 80th birthday, according to an April 2012 article published in Family Practice.

5 Causes of Sarcopenia – First, some grim news: People lose as much as 5 percent of their muscle mass per decade after they hit age 30, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Here are five reasons why:

1. Inactivity – Yes, the old “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it” expression rings true.

Normally, exercise releases muscle growth factors, which stimulate muscle regeneration. But that process declines with age, according to the Family Practice article. Plus, older people are less active in general, sometimes as a result of having a disease that makes them tired and in pain.

2. Poor Nutrition – People tend to consume fewer calories as they get older. Between the ages of 40 and 70, calories are reduced by about 25 percent — and that means nutrient intake is on a downward slope as well, according to a February 2019 review published in Clinical Nutrition. That can lead to weight loss and muscle loss over time.

3. Decrease in Muscle Fibers – The Current Opinion in Rheumatology article notes that fast-twitch muscle fibers (which aid the body in power-based moves) decline with age, which contributes to muscle decline overall.

4. Changing Hormones – Testosterone, which plays an important role in determining the body’s muscle mass, also declines with age. This process starts around age 40 and decreases at a rate of about 1 percent per year, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

5. Increased Inflammation  – Inflammation comes with certain diseases and aging in general and makes it harder to remain active and increases the likelihood of disability. All of that gets in the way of muscle growth, according to the Current Opinion in Rheumatology article.

Why You Should Try to Maintain Your Muscle

Sarcopenia can be dangerous. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it can make you more frail and put you at increased risk of falling or other injuries.

An October 2012 study published in Clinical Nutrition found 27 percent of people over age 80 with sarcopenia reported falling during the study’s two-year follow-up, compared with less than 10 percent of 80-plus-year-olds without sarcopenia.

“Vitamin D is the most prominent nutrient deficiency for older adults, and depleted vitamin D levels are associated with decreased muscle strength.”

For older men specifically, sarcopenia is also linked to the development of diabetes, according to an April 2020 study in the Journal of the Endocrine Society. The researchers note that muscle plays an essential role in blood sugar regulation, although they weren’t able to conclude why women don’t seem to be affected the same way.

According to a June 2015 study published in The American Journal of Medicine, the amount of muscle an older person has can predict his or her risk of dying, with more muscle mass index being linked to lower mortality risk.

How to Prevent Sarcopenia

Even if you are well into your golden years, it’s not too late to build back some of that lost muscle. Here are four things you can do to thwart sarcopenia.

1. Stay Active – An inactive lifestyle speeds up the muscle-loss process, according to the Cleveland Clinic. One of your best defenses, then, is staying active.

Some good options include: Light hiking, Walking, Swimming laps, Body-weight movements

2. Prioritize Protein – Protein is the macronutrient that promotes growth and development. And older people usually don’t get enough of it.  Indeed, a March 2020 study published in Frontiers in Nutrition found older people consume about 83 grams of protein each day, which is significantly lower than younger people.

Even though the Recommended Daily Allowance is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of weight, the researchers suggest older people need more — somewhere between 1 and 1.5 grams per kilogram — to stay healthy.

3. Pay Attention to Vitamin D – Vitamin D is the most prominent nutrient deficiency for older adults, and depleted vitamin D levels are associated with decreased muscle strength.

4. Embrace Progressive Resistance Training – As in, don’t be afraid to make your workouts more difficult as you get stronger with more weight, more reps or more sets.

Any type of resistance training should help. A meta-analysis published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise reviewed 49 studies involving men ages 50 or older and found resistance training led to a 2.4-pound gain in lean body mass.

Be patient, however. It could take six to eight weeks to see results, per the Cleveland Clinic. Moody says it rests on your diligence, effort, focus and, most importantly, routine.

Your success will depend on your consistency, appropriate challenge and frequency.