Having insufficient muscle likely creates as many health problems as having too much body fat.
Why it matters: We've been discussing the value of quality muscle for the last 3 weeks (click here for past articles).
Studies show that both increased muscle mass and muscle strength are associated with longer life and better health
While I meet many people who are interested in fat loss, I don't find nearly as many people who are concerned about muscle loss. Someone who is "undermuscled" needs a different strategy than someone who is simply "overnourished"
Many people would benefit greatly from attention to improving, or at least maintaining, their muscle mass
What you can do: The figure below summarizes a recent review about preventing age-related muscle loss (called sarcopenia).
The two key strategies from this list are:
Consuming enough protein. It's more than most of us get, turns out. A good target is grams of protein equal to 75% of your weight in pounds (e.g. 90 g of protein for a 120 pound person), split into 3-5 servings during the day.
Strength or resistance training. Regular cardio doesn't serve this purpose, unfortunately.
Take heart, you don't have to be perfect tomorrow! Making small improvements regularly adds to large gains over months and years. Remember that going from "not much" to "some" exercise produces tremendous benefit. Adding an additional 10-20 g of protein is helpful, even if you're not yet all the way to your target level.
And again, get help if you're not sure how to exercise safely or how to up your protein intake. Sarah or I can help you with your individual questions and strategy when we see you in clinic.
P.S. Below are the pictures from my exam room wall which we are exploring for this email series.
Dr. Christopher FoxI am a board-certified endocrinologist in Superior, CO, and I have been in private practice since 2003. People I work with achieve success when they learn all the ingredients of healthy lifestyle and the system to consistently follow through on good intentions. I use my knowledge of endocrine science, psychology, neuroscience, and human behavior to help people make meaningful, lasting changes in their health that they can sustain long-term.