We tend to lose a significant amount of muscle mass as we age. Scientific data (Breen et al, 2007) shows that we lost around 1-2% of our muscle mass each year once we reach our mid-forties. This means that by the time we’re in our mid-sixties, we will have lost around 25% of our total body muscle.
This process is scientifically named ‘sarcopenia’, and it is a completely normal – albeit unhealthy – part of ageing. This muscles loss speeds up as we age, and can become a real health issue if we don’t do something about it.
To put this into perspective, recent clinical trials show that, when immobile for 28 days, a middle-aged person may lose around 400 grams of muscle tissue from their legs. This compares to a shocking kilogram of muscle being lost from a seventy-year-old’s legs when inactive for just three days. This shows how prone we are to losing valuable, healthy muscle tissue as we age, especially if we fail to exercise.
One of the keys to more energized muscles and joints is good circulation, and the cold doesn’t help us on that front. When the body gets cold, circulation becomes restricted so the blood remains around the heart and vital organs, making it harder for blood to reach the peripheral areas of the body. (Hello, numb hands, legs, and feet!) Thus, getting the blood flowing throughout the body is especially important during the winter. While hibernating at home or not venturing outside of the office all day is tempting, being sedentary won’t help your joints.