Two huge reasons to maintain muscle mass as you age.

As you age do you find yourself suffering with more aches and pains? Frequent colds and low moods?

What does muscle have to do with it? More than you might think! We have to keep in mind that gravity is always pulling us down. Did you know that if it weren’t for your muscles, you would be no more that a puddle of skin, bones and fat lying on the floor? Not a pretty sight! As we age, the body has more aches and pains. A major contributing factor to this is the loss of muscle mass. According to exercise physiologist Dr. Michael Colgan, Ph.D., the majority of Americans over the age of 60 don’t have enough muscle left to hold up their skeleton properly and this causes more strain on the joints, ligaments and organs. It just makes sense, doesn’t it? The good news is that it’s easier to build and maintain muscle than you think.

If holding your skeleton in place is not enough to inspire you to hit the gym, how about this? As you lose muscle with age, you lose the ability to build immune cells. What? Woah! This is a game changer for me! Muscle provides the glutathione that your immune system uses to build every one of its cells. It could also be said that as you lose muscle with age, you lose the ability to build immune cells.

There you go- two big reasons to build and maintain your muscle. So what are a few of the best ways? We’ve all heard it before: exercise and protein. However, not all exercises and not all proteins are created equal.

Lets start with exercise, because it is so important for your muscles and overall health.

Back to the Gym!

 

My wife and I have joined a circuit training program that focuses on all-over body conditioning at a local fitness studio. Fitness expert Fiona Welz just opened it in Stafford Springs, CT.

 

 

In a recent conversation with Fiona, she told us that each routine is a bit different so we’re always conditioning different muscle groups. I must admit that I’m more of a do-it-yourself type of person and was a little intimidated about working out in a class full of women, but I’m finding that the circuits are kicking my butt. Every station is set up for different levels of fitness and strength. Fiona is extra attentive to each person’s form. I realize now that having a good trainer making the crucial adjustments is paramount to staying injury free and finding the right muscle group to focus on in each exercise.

According to Holistic Health Coach and Fitness Expert Deborah Duby, it’s important to consider that when using proper form, every rep is a postural and abdominal exercise. I’m certainly finding this out.

So proper positioning is key to finding the muscle and making it burn. Strength coaches, trainers, and any of the classes they offer can be one of the best investments you’ll ever make in your health. We’re really enjoying the class as it’s fun to workout with other people as great tunes are playing. The circuit rotations are easier with a coach, since we stay on track in a way that doesn’t usually happen when working out at home.

 

As for quality protein… well, not all proteins are quality. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (May 2011) concluded that of all protein bases commonly used in shakes, whey protein best stimulates muscle protein uptake.  Soy is a popular form of protein found in shakes, but it is unfortunately one of the most genetically modified crops and quite high in enzyme inhibitors. This means it’s very hard on the digestion. Traditionally, the Chinese only ate soy after burying it underground for two to three years. Whey protein, however, is bioavailable. The best whey protein is processed at a low temperature to keep the amino acid profile intact, known as un-denatured whey protein. Of course, it’s also important to look at how the cows live. Most cows in America are raised on a concrete pad and consume the cheapest feed available: corn, soy, and even chicken pellets made from feathers. Needless to say, cows did not evolve to live on this diet. Without being able to feed on grass, cows get upset stomachs and need to be treated with antibiotics. But who grassfeeds cows anymore?

New Zealand Happy Cows

New Zealand, as it turns out. Once Shannon and I were taking an airport shuttle that we shared with an Australian family. We’d heard that Isagenix sourced its whey from New Zealand and that it had the world’s highest dairy standards. We asked the Aussies, “How is New Zealand’s dairy, in your opinion?”  With their sweet Aussie voices they replied with wide eyes, “O New Zealand has the best dairy. Best in the world.” And all the cows are grass fed!

This has far-reaching implications for those interested in essential fatty acids, vitamin content, or conjugated linoleic acid. Isagenix international sources their whey protein from New Zealand, so this is where I get my whey protein shakes. I find them to be really tasty while packing in 23grams of protein and only 240 calories per shake. The Isa-lean shake is considered a complete meal. For many, it’s the healthiest meal of the day! If you would like to try what I call the Ultimate Smoothie were having a tasting at ClearPoint Center on Saturday March 24. It’s free for guests. Click here for details.

So I’m back to the GYM and really inspired to stick with it. I need to- for my skeleton’s sake!

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