Muscle is that wonderful tissue that elevates us beyond the status of a jelly fish, whose movements are dependent on the ocean's currents.
Muscle tissue, like so much of the tissue in the human body, originates from highly specialized stem cells. Despite being a biological wonder in itself, the process of renewal is ongoing, owing to the functioning of adult stem cells within the muscles themselves.
From the day we are born, our muscles are designed to grow larger and stronger, making us fitter and more physically able; until around the age of 30 that is. Sadly, at this point, genetics take over and we begin to lose muscle mass as a natural age-related phenomenon. Basically this means that the body starts tearing down old muscle at a faster rate than new tissue is formed. This significant decline results in a loss of overall strength, mobility and stamina.
Everyone (even those who are physically fit) will experience a degree of age-related loss. Those who are inactive, however, can lose as much as 3% to 5% per decade after age thirty.
The cycle of having no stamina leads to the decreased ability to perform ordinary daily tasks like climbing stairs, lifting groceries, and so on, and this in turn leads to poorer muscle-growth.
Eventually, owing to the formation of more fatty tissue, a weight increase is noticed, and a greater risk of type 2 diabetes and cardio-vascular disease occurs.
The escalation of these conditions will result in what is commonly termed frailty, and the likelyhood of falls and fractures in the elderly increases. In addition to inactivity, insufficient protein intake is a highly significant contributing factor.
Fortunately not all is doom and gloom as there are ways to counter muscle loss, the primary treatment being quite simply, exercise. Resistance training is effective, and a routine of using free weights with the help of a personal trainer, to avoid the risk of injury, is highly recommended. Studies have indicated that progressive resistance training can have a positive effect in as little as 4 weeks.
Diet is also an extremely important factor to take into consideration. The average 10 grams of protein that most people get from a bowl of cereal with milk is not enough to promote muscle growth. 20 to 25 grams can be obtained from eating lean meats or drinking a protein shake as a supplement.
A researcher at an American university states that a 3 egg omelette or 150 grams of lean beef can boost muscle building by 50 % for a period of 3 hours when consumed immediately after resistance training.
It is also thought that, if one's body mass remains stable by eating the same foods every day, it is a good idea to maintain that eating pattern, with some added variations to avoid boredom.
A little humour can do no harm. Some quotations from famous and not so famous people follow:
One individual says that, "getting fit is mind over matter, but quite honestly I do not mind so why should it matter?"
Another vents his feelings about joggers by saying, "they are a pain in the rear and should be made to run on wheels like hamsters".
An unlikely candidate for fitness says, "I am in good form. Perfectly round".
One who has little patience states, "these walkerthons really irritate me; idiots with smug looks on their faces, holding up the traffic".
And the daughter who, with a chuckle says, "my mum started walking at 65 and we have not seen her since".
Readers, do take note that muscular relaxation is essential. With ongoing daily commitments, time is of the essence, but with a minimum amount of effort one can create one's own "Home Spa".
Relaxing in a bath of hot water with MatsiMela Home Spa's Kalahari Bath Soak is a good start. The oils that are infused into the product will promote a variety of wonderful benefits, and your skin, muscles and general state of relaxation will leave you feeling wonderfully rejuvenated.