Maintaining Your Muscles Might Help You Conquer Old Age

In a lab in Orlando, FL, technicians at the Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes are conducting fascinating and groundbreaking research into how our muscles might be the key to anti-aging. We all know that we lose muscle mass when we’re inactive, but we also lose the metabolic benefits of having fit muscles. Mitochondria in our muscles slowly die off as they’re not needed, and slowly get replaced with fat in the muscle, until they look like marbled steak more than anything else. Once this happens, you’ve lost a lot of the potential your muscles had to do work, which can result in fatigue and lethargy when you DO want to start working out or doing strenuous activities. It becomes harder and harder to start an exercise routine because your muscles are no longer able to do the work as efficiently.

This happens a lot to people in their thirties, as they start having children, get more stressful jobs, and (it seems) never have enough time to go around. Even if they manage to stay thin, the lack of activity and exercise means they’re not as healthy inside as they once were, and it can show in all of their body processes. It turns out that the amount of mitochondria in our muscles directly correlates with how well we fight off disease, even aggressive ones like cancer, as well as how quickly our body ages. Also, when fat starts creeping into our muscles, we become more susceptible to diabetes.

So what can you do? Well, for starters, don’t lose them in the first place. If you’re in a healthy and fit state, make every effort you can to stay that way. After all, it’s harder to change your habits than to keep going. But, if you’re like most of us who only exercise in short bursts, usually with goals in mind (that may or may not get reached), repetition is key. Muscles require action and constant use to know that they need to produce more mitochondria, and the good news is that they can. The Institute has found that even in adults as old as their late sixties, making a change and doing some form of aerobic exercise 4 times a week increased their mitochondria by up to 68%… in just two weeks! Most people can work 30 mins of aerobic exercise into their routine, if only on their lunch breaks or when their children are in bed. If not for yourself, do it for your muscles – they’ll surely thank you later on!