View Full Version : loss of muscle mass

4th May 2003, 11:37
I have noticed, over the last ten years of my forties, a decisive loss of muscle mass. It has not happened overnight, but obviously, my chest is declining from 54 to 48 inches, my arms are down from 23 to 18 inches, and of course, it seems like all that mass heads for my belly in a regalial of laughter that sings the praises of the 'middle age pot belly'.

After a couple of rounds with Bell's palsy, and steroids as part of the regimen to overcome the paralyzation, I had thought much of the muscle mass was regained, but after two years, and the big 50 coming up, it is shrinking once again.

Don't get me wrong, because I understand that in the journey of life it will continue, but in focus of what is to come, what can I expect in terms of losing the strength of youth and having to rely upon in using the tricks of training verses the rambunctiousness of youth and the courtyards of muscular strength?

Maybe it is just that I am pushing myself too hard in light of my physical ailments, but my attempts to move quicker, and quicker seem to be more difficult instead of being easier. I notice that, more often than not, during shomen, either with hand or bokken, I am checking the hand or bokken with a sweep to divert arc of the strike rather than being able to move easily out of the way. The physical effort just seems to increase or aggrivate my physical conditions forcing me to sit out from practice to regain my balance, or let my body catch up to my practice.

I don't know.

Even though I have a variety of ailments, it seems like I push myself over the physical edge from shorter periods of exertion as the muscle mass decreases?

I would appreciate some observations of some older practitioners who have had to modify practice, and have you noticed a change in practice when your muscular mass began to change at 50 or sixty years old?

David T Anderson
15th May 2003, 16:16
Hi Bruce -- I'm coming up to my 49th birthday real soon now, and what I've noticed is that I need more rest between strength workouts. Once upon a time, 3 heavy workouts per week were easy, and muscle mass piled on. Now I do two moderate weight workouts per week simply to maintain my muscular development...I have decided that muscle for the sake of muscle is a game for the immature...:D At the same time I'm working fairly hard to decrease my belly and maintain a high level of aerobic fitness...I also need to eat far less than I used to, certainly less than I like!

In light of your situation, I think you should sit down with your doctor and discuss in detail what you should expect, given the nature of your health problems. I don't think a man at the half-century mark should expect to have to lose much of his strength or agility. Perhaps he won't be a world class athlete, but with a proper diet and exercise regimen, he should be able to do quite well. {I work with a dozen other guys my age, and only a couple of them do much by way of real exercise...man, it's a sad sight..].

I imagine I'll know more in another 10 or 20 years, but I am hopeful that my health will contine good, and my drive to keep on with Aikido will keep me fit. My Sensei is pushing 60 and despite a number of health problems, he's still a menace on the mat...

15th May 2003, 17:48
Muscle mass loss begins at about 30 for men, and accelerates around 50.
It's not entirely a losing battle, though;diet, supplements, and exercise can slow this process for life.
Studies have shown increases in muscle mass and strength in 70 to 90 year old women in nursing homes who were put on a weight lifting program.

This is old news, and mostly no big deal.


Steve Williams
15th May 2003, 20:37
So you had 23inch arms bruce???? :eek:

Anything over 20inches for someone who is lean (not fat, so muscle size, not fat size) is considered very good.....

Are you lean or fat, and if lean then post a picture.... because you must be an enourmous bodybuilder.......

Just to put this in perspective..... I train (on occasion) with an ex uk bodybuilding champion, and he is still in EXCELLENT shape, and his arms are "only 20inches".

Tripitaka of AA
16th May 2003, 11:22
Perhaps he was measuring the length! Had you thought of that Steve? :D

17th May 2003, 18:07
The fat lady at the circus had, like, 28 inch arms.:eek:

Maybe we have a new nickname for Brucie.......;)

23rd May 2003, 20:32
Seriously, measurements are taken around the arm not the height of the arm, just like a shirt measurement .... measure around the neck?

Never mind.

My body building used to be lifting heavy objects, carrying 50 -150 pound motors or parts, and lifting 12 inch cement blocks from the center with my finger tips, or even carrying two batteries in each hand (marine batteries have straps which make that quite easy) ..... these are all natural weightlifting throughout the normal work day that just don't happen anymore.

I am, in every sense of the word, a bear or gorilla, and now that this gorilla body is leaning out, which is something I expected but didn't believe, I was a bit concerned.

Not all big guys make it to retirement or the golden age of social security, at least not in good enough health to enjoy it, anyway.

Thanks for the link Aaron. It provided a few more clues on what I can look forward to ...