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Is Lost Muscle Mass a Normal Part of Aging?

Once upon a time, everything from wrinkles to brain fog to floppy muscles were attributed to the “normal” process of aging. Nowadays, though people around the world — and their doctors — are upturning those expectations and pushing our bodies to new limits.

While it’s common to lose muscle mass as you age, that doesn’t mean you have to accept it as a normal outcome. That’s kind of like settling for a “gentleman’s C” instead of acing the exam or settling for a job you hate instead of building a career you love.

You don’t accept low standards for yourself in any other sphere of your life, so there’s no reason that you have to settle for “normal” as you age. Especially since people are pushing the boundaries of what normal is every single day. 

Our forward-thinking physicians at Men's T Clinic® aren’t willing to settle for normal, either. They’ve experienced for themselves that the classic hallmarks of aging for men — including erectile dysfunction (ED) and lost muscle mass — can be prevented or reversed.

If you’re unhappy with the way your body is shaping (or de-shaping) up, despite your best efforts at the gym and a healthy diet, you may have low testosterone (T). As you age, it’s common (though don’t accept it as normal) to lose T.

Even if your levels measure in the normal range (there’s that word again!), that doesn’t mean they’re normal — or right — for you. Here’s how this all-important hormone affects your muscle mass, and why you may need to supplement with T as you age.

Testosterone helps you build muscle

When you do resistance exercises that stresses your muscle mass, your muscles actually stimulate your body to create more T, which then builds even more muscle. However, just using barbells a couple of times a week isn’t enough to build significant muscle mass or release a lot of T.

Ideally, you should do complex exercises that stress and stimulate many muscles and joints at once. In one study, for instance, a loaded jump squat released more T than a simple bench press. 

Muscle mass burns fat

Now let’s talk about your “normal” flab. If you’re low in T, that bulge around your waist isn’t necessarily due to lack of training and effort on your part. When you have less muscle mass, your metabolism slows down, too.

Muscle mass burns a lot of calories, which keeps you lean. Fewer muscles translates to a slower metabolism, which means those extra calories now get stored as fat instead of being turned into energy by your muscles.

Adding insult to injury, body fat (aka adipose tissue) produces the hormone estrogen. Healthy men always have some estrogen, even though it’s mistakenly viewed as a “female” hormone. But when you have too much estrogen, you’re more likely to put on extra fat. 

Muscles prevent falls

Another so-called normal part of aging is osteoporosis. Although you may associate osteoporosis — the loss of bone density and strength — with postmenopausal women, men are at risk, too, especially as they move up the ladder of years.

Not only does a healthy level of T prevent bone loss in the first place, but strong, dense muscles reduce your risk for a fall. Sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss) is associated with a shorter lifespan, and increased fracture risk.

Supplemental T redefines normal

Now you’ve learned that losing muscle mass as you age is normal, but it isn’t anything that you have to accept. Not only do low T levels reduce your muscles and increase your flab, they can also lead to other troubling symptoms that are written off as normal aging, such as:

You can stop sarcopenia and other symptoms from lowering your quality (and maybe even the length) of your life by restoring your T to healthy levels. In other words, you decide what normal is for you as you age, based on how you look and feel.

To take control of your aging and define a new normal for yourself, call us for a low testosterone evaluation. Contact the Men’s T Clinic® office that's nearest you -- in Dallas, Frisco, The Colony, Houston, Cypress, Pearland, Pasadena, Grapevine, and Spring, Texas. You can phone us or use the online booking form to set up a consultation today.

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