Twenty-first century health and wellness professionals agree that muscle really matters. Muscle has been said to be the window to the rest of your body, your primary biomarker, and the engine of your personal health. Irwin Rosenburg, M.D. says that it’s responsible much more than people know for the vitality of their whole “physiological apparatus.”
Aging is not on the side of muscle. From age 20-50, the average person loses ½ pound of muscle per year! This amounts to 15 pounds of muscle loss by age 50. The answer to this problem is a little different than you may have heard.
It’s a common refrain – “Use’em or lose’em.” Here is the problem. I like to say that you “use” every muscle in your body by the time you brush your teeth each morning. And, that’s saying a lot as there are 700 named muscles in the human frame. This type of use obviously won’t stem the tide of muscle loss let alone keep you in peak health and fitness.
You see, while you have 700 muscles in your body, those muscle contain about a billion muscle fibers. A muscle fiber is essentially a single muscle cell that is made of proteins in that interact to generate force as they slide on each other under the power of chemical reactions. Each fiber is one that has to be preserved or strengthened through meaningful use. Indeed, you can use all 700 of your muscles every day for 30 years and still experience atrophy in millions of fibers throughout each of your muscles. You can literally use’em and lose’em.
The answer to peak muscular fitness and by extension optimal health and fitness is found in the science of muscle fiber recruitment. This will be the topic of my next post.
P.S. Brushing your teeth is very good for you. It just won’t keep you as strong and healthy as you want to be!
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