Monday, February 3, 2020

Our muscles won't grow

It’s challenging and maybe bordering on next to impossible for us middle-age men to add muscle mass to our manly bodies; yes, it can be a tall chore.  More likely than not, the girth we gain while living the good life and gracefully aging is fat.

No brag, just fact.

So, while we may work our tails off to keep our bodyweight stable, our body composition is likely changing.  The 170-lbs. sinewy teenager we once were, sporting 88 percent lean body mass and 12 percent bodyfat, may now be a 170-lbs. middle-age man sporting a "dad bod" of 75 percent lean body mass and 25 percent bodyfat.

Muscle atrophy syndrome strikes!  

My internet surfing tells me there are three types of muscle atrophy – physiologic, pathologic and neurogenic.  We’re more likely to be afflicted with physiologic and pathologic muscle atrophy as middle-age men as we march forward towards old manhood.

Physiologic muscle atrophy, caused by not using the muscles enough, can be reversed or mitigated by progressive resistance exercises and smarter eating.

Pathologic muscle atrophy, caused by aging, starvation, and certain diseases, is more difficult to deal with but, like physiologic muscle atrophy, can be mitigated somewhat by the same progressive resistance exercises and smart eating.

Neurogenic muscle atrophy – caused from an injury or a nerve-related disease - is severe and reversing or mitigating it may not be possible.

I’m doing my best to mitigate my physiologic and pathologic muscle atrophy with the fitness training and the foods I eat.  Time will tell as time goes on how good a job I’ve done.  I’m sure you’re doing the same.

So, while we view horrific visual reminders of our manly muscular bodies withering away during morning encounters with our favorite bathroom mirrors, despite our stellar fitness training and nutrition, perhaps there’s some middle-age man comfort in the good news that atrophy doesn’t strike two parts of our bodies.  In fact, they keep growing!  While these two body parts aren’t muscle, their continuing growth provides a consolidation while the rest of our body is withering away.

We should take whatever growth we can get, so long as it’s not bodyfat growth!

Yes, this is good news.  Each new day, our ears and nose continue growing even though our muscles won’t grow.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum


Anonymous said...

What is the age range for middle aged? (For instance if you are middle aged at 65 you're expecting to live to be 130.) Most people are dead by 80 something, so shouldn't middle age range end somewhere in the 40's?

Pierini Fitness said...

Thank you for visiting Pierini Fitness and your question.

My definition of middle-age, that I wrote about in my first book, is age 45 to 69. One becomes an old man at age 70. Others may define it differently but I think we're close. So, to age 44 is young, ages 45-69 middle and age 70 and older is old.

Enjoy your day.