While I’m definitely not in the running to becoming the next Ms. Olympia, I have made it one of my goals this year to add a little weight to my muscles. Why? Well, as a yoga-loving brisk walker who has about as much muscle mass as a newborn kitten, I wanted, no wait, NEEDED to build just a little more muscle for the benefit of the greater good. Or, old age.
My guess is that if I have the amount of muscle I do now when I’m 60, I’m going to be hunched over, frail, and hobbling around my house with a walking stick. Which, let’s face it, isn’t really the picture I had in mind. Oh no, Happies, my picture of retirement has flashes of a huge organic vegetable garden in my backyard, lots of cooking, writing, laughing, and running around like I do today. There’s simply no time for frailty.
As we age, our muscle mass decreases at increasing intervals. In our 40s, we lose 3-5% of muscle mass over that ten year period, then, once we hit our 50s we start losing 1-2% of muscle mass PER YEAR. Granted, I’m a while off being 40, but the more I research muscles, the more I want them.
I think the biggest misconception among women is that doing weights at the gym is going to make you bulky. While guys parade around in their barely-there singlets, pumping iron and flexing their muscles in between sets, women take one look at these goons and get turned off for life.
Firstly, it takes years to look like that, a few sessions each week of lifting weights isn’t going to bulk you up, instead it’s going to give you Beyonce-esque tone, and best of all, life-long health benefits. Winner!
Not only is it important to have muscles as we age, but right here and now, muscles are an essential part of our day-to-day life. If they’re not in optimum health, they’re more prone to injuries like tearing or sprains, but on a deeper level, muscles actually reduce the amount of fat cells in your body. Yes, it’s true.
When we were all cave men and cave women and running around hunting and fishing and cooking and cleaning all day, our bodies were happily storing unused nutrients for later. Clearly, we needed these reserves, as we were more active. So, you ate, your body used what it needed, and popped the rest in the cupboard for later.
Now, however, the scene is a little different, thanks to silly inventions like desk jobs and offices and dishwashers (actually, dishwashers are a freaking amazing invention), our nutrient stores simply aren’t getting used as we’re not active enough. The result? An, ahem, growing society. Unless, of course, you have muscles which burn through those nutrients better than anything else. They eat, and eat, and eat them up, leaving you probably eating a little bit more but looking a little less. It’s magic.
While yoga can most definitely help tone and build strength, I was finding my practice wasn’t giving me the results I was looking for. Perhaps it’s my body type, or the style of yoga I was doing, but now that I’ve been varying my workout as much as my diet, hey presto! I’ve got a muscle. Maybe even two. OK, three muscles but I don’t want to brag.
Tell me Happies…
Do you lift weights and build muscle?
Is it something that you want to do?
What do you do to build muscles?