Desk job combined with sedentary lifestyle can lead to muscular degeneration!
Muscle mass is one of the most precious thing in our body, muscle helps us perform our daily routine tasks whether it’s walking, climbing staircase, lifting something up from the floor etc. It’s really hard to actually gain the lost muscle mass (if you have a sedentary lifestyle) as it requires a consistent diet combined with resistance training exercises, still you can only aim to gain 0.5 – 1 kg a month and rate decreases/stabilizes as body starts adapting the exercise routine. Muscle burns more calories than fat when you are at resting state (or say sleeping), that implies the more the muscle mass, the leaner you will look. And please come out of the myth that you will start looking bulky with decent amount of muscle mass. As, the bodybuilders we see on stage have different goals, they intentionally put on that mass with the help of external factors in order to make a career. So, let’s not get into that.
A normal person shall also preserve his or her muscle mass, maintain muscle strength and endurance in order to remain fit and perform daily tasks effectively without minor/major issues such as muscle cramps/sprains or spasms, joint and tendon issues. These issues may become a daily part of one’s life and condition may worsen with time if corrective measures are not taken on time. Nobody wants to start his day with a medicine to lower down the muscle pain. So, one need to focus on strengthening of muscles, as precaution is always better than cure.
So, what is muscular degeneration and why it happens?
Muscular degeneration in simple terms is wasting of muscle mass over a period of time. Now, it can be due to various factors such as lack of physical activity (due to any past or current medical issue), genetic disorder and sedentary lifestyle with little or no physical activity. Consultation under a doctor is the right way to approach in case you suffer from any medical condition or genetic disorder.
But, that percentage is limited in number, majority fall under the third category as I mentioned above that is sedentary lifestyle or say lack of resistance exercises in daily life. We are so tied up with our jobs, deadlines, commitments, personal/professional pressure that our health takes the last seat on priority bus. Muscle weakens or reduces its size with time if not trained regularly against the force/weights/resistance. People start accumulating fat also due to low muscle mass which in turn leads to slow metabolism (as I told muscle burns more calories than fat).
Muscle loss or degeneration is a very common problem these days and lack of awareness complicates the problem further. As people move to doctors for treatment when they face minor issue like muscle sprain, spasms or cramps on frequent basis and doctors play the ignorant part too by referring them medicine rather than guiding them to put some effort towards their own health in order to strengthen the weak muscle, easy way out for both the doctor and patient.
Situation worsens around 50 years of age!
There is a natural condition called “Sarcopenia” which our body has to go through as the process of ageing starts. Sarcopenia is basically the loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength as a result of ageing. After 50 years of age, a person loses 10% of muscle mass naturally in a decade, so, by the time your turn 60, 10% muscle will be gone. Now, you must be thinking if this process is natural and everyone has to go through it than what’s the use of exercise? No, you are wrong my friend, resistance training (if done consistently) helps you preserve muscle mass and strength even at an older age and many researches have already proven that it delays the process of sarcopenia, it won’t hit you hard so easily. Also, in case you start with resistance training early in your life, you will always be in a better position than the person who didn’t.
Effects due to muscular degeneration
- You will get fatigued easily and won’t be able to perform daily routine tasks comfortably.
- Muscle spasms, cramps or sprains on frequent basis. Also, increases the risk of injury.
- Muscle may tear out easily or suddenly, which takes a good amount of time to heal.
- You may start feeling pressure on joints as muscles weakens and unable to take the load. With time it may start weakening the joints too.
- Slow metabolism which will aid weight-gain in long-run.
- Reduction in physical ability
- Fasten the ageing process.
How to fight muscular degeneration
Resistance training – It is the best choice as muscles only preserve themselves when made hard to work against some kind of resistance. You can take the help of resistance in the form of dumbbell, weight- plates, bars or weight-training machines. If you feel you are not able to join a gym, go for home workout apps which help you guide with body-weight workouts and eliminate the need of gym equipment. Or you can buy a good pair of resistance bands (depending upon your strength levels) and perform exercises at home only. Remember these all are form of resistance training and help you preserve or gain muscle mass and strength. Body does adapt to resistance levels after a time, so you need to keep increasing your exercise volume over a period of time in order to progress. But do also remember quantified nutrition/diet plays a very important and complimentary role which can’t be ignored either, so work towards it too. In case you have any medical condition, it’s always advisable to take expert consultation.
Eat balanced, exercise well and stay healthy! Good luck!
About the Author : Lucky Gaur is an INFS Certified Fitness and Nutrition Consultant and a Diploma holder in Naturopathy & Yogic Science, All India Nature Cure Federation. The views expressed in the article are his personal.
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