Muscle Matters: Everything You Need To Know About Its Mass And Health

Muscle Matters: Everything You Need To Know About Its Mass And Health

Muscle plays an important role in many aspects of life, and there are plenty of effective ways to test and improve your strength. Read on.

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : August 5, 2022 10:58 AM IST

Muscles are the largest component of our total lean body mass (or LBM), which is literally everything that makes up our body except for fat. In fact, your muscles usually account for 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the body weight. The role of muscles goes beyond simply allowing you to move and retain balance. Healthy muscles are also essential for your physical strength, organ function, skin integrity, immunity and wound healing. That's why healthy muscles are pivotal for enjoying and achieving all of life's possibilities as you age.

Muscle health can often tell you how you are going to age and stay active and independent. So, it is important to understand what muscle health is and how it affects your life. Here, we shed light on a few aspects you should know about your muscles and muscle health.

Importance of healthy muscles

Starting at age 40, adults can lose up to 8 per cent of their muscle mass per decade. After 70 years, that rate may double. In fact, muscle loss is also accelerated due to poor nutrition, illness and chronic diseases. This can impact your energy levels and mobility, increase the risk for falls and fractures, and even slow recovery from illness or surgery. You need healthy muscles to enjoy quality life.

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  • You may move easily and maintain your body with healthy muscles.
  • They support your daily activities like playing sports, dancing, walking your dog, swimming, and other things requiring physical movement.
  • Your joints are better able to function when you have strong muscles.
  • You may be more prone to knee injuries if, for example, the muscles surrounding that knee become weak.
  • Muscle health also aids with keeping your balance.

Healthy muscles for robust immunity

If you want to build a strong immune system and reduce your risk of bacterial and viral infections, don't underestimate your muscles. Muscle tissue plays a role in activating immune cells, and people with lower muscle and strength levels have reduced immune function. To enhance your immune health, take a look at your overall diet and centre your meals around lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans, and low-fat dairy. Together, these foods provide micronutrients like calcium, vitamin D, iron and antioxidants that can help keep your immune system strong and rejuvenate muscle health.

Muscle loss and recovery

Your muscles are a critical source of strength and energy as you recover from any traumatic event. When you're sick or hospitalized, your body often doesn't get enough of the nutrients it needs to recover, such as protein, causing it to break down muscle tissue. This kind of muscle loss is associated with delayed recovery from illness, slowed wound healing, and diminished quality of life.

Identifying loss of muscle mass

The good news is that grip strength is an easy way to assess your overall muscular strength - just by squeezing an orange or noticing the firmness of your handshake you can determine your muscle strength. A chair challenge test is also an easy way to test your muscle strength. The time you take to do 5 sit-ups on a chair of approx. height 43 cms (1.4 feet) can tell you your muscle age. For example, for males between 40 and 50 years of muscle age it should take about 6.8 to 7.5 seconds and for females the time taken should be 6.9 to 7.4 seconds to perform the test.

Rebuilding muscle and strength

Losing muscle is natural, but its rate of progression and negative effects don't have to be. You can take simple measures to slow down muscle loss to help support a healthy lifestyle and continue doing the things you love to do. The best part is that it's never too late to regain muscle, strength or to combat the long tail symptoms of infection due to muscle loss.

  • It can be achieved through a combination of strength exercises and a complete, balanced diet with sufficient protein and nutrients.
  • On the nutritional front, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and vitamin B3 are some key nutrients to maintain muscle health.
  • Regular check-up of muscle strength is essential as well.
  • You can test your locomotive ability and find out how good your muscle strength is and know what to do earlier to help prevent and delay muscle loss and strength.

Muscle plays an important role in many aspects of life, and there are plenty of effective ways to test and improve your strength. Talk to your doctor about healthy options for preserving muscle loss.

(This article is authored by Dr Irfan Shaikh, Head, Medical & Scientific Affairs at Abbott's Nutrition business)