Tag Archives: muscle atrophy


Strengthening Your Back – How To Build Wider Shoulders and Good Posture

Strengthening the back not only helps you look good. It helps your posture and helps prevent neck pain and back pain.

back muscles photo

Photo by stevendamron

Your back supports your upper body and must be strong to avoid stress, strain, and eventual pain. While many people overemphasize the lower back, the upper back muscles must also be strong. Doing the right upper back strengthening exercises should be part of your exercise routine.

Some people who have let their muscles atrophy through lack of good exercise have poor posture, and actually have a “bent over” look. This bad posture crowds all the organs of the chest and reduces their functionality. Now is the time to decide to take care of this problem and restore good posture.

Not only will strengthening the back make you look and feel better, but they will increase your metabolism. This is important for anyone wanting to manage their body fat percentage. New lean muscle burns Calories. A pound of lean muscle burns 30 to 50 extra Calories a day, just because it’s there. Do work with those new muscles and you will burn even more Calories.

Upper back exercises can be performed with dumbbells, barbells, or machines. If you are a member of a gym you have a wide selection of machines and weights that can help restore your posture and improve your overall health and sense of well-being.

This first video will help you understand the importance of your upper back muscles. Just look at the difference between the “rounded shoulder” look and the “good posture”, shoulders back look.

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Back Strengthening Exercises

Now take a look at a couple of short videos showing you the proper techniques for doing some simple upper back exercises. If you do not do these exercises with the proper form you will not receive the maximum benefits.

Scarecrows or Reverse Cable Fly
Scarecrows or reverse cable fly is performed on cable machines in which you pull outward to extend your arms. Here is the proper technique.

Seated Low Row
Here is the proper technique for doing a seated low row.

These and other exercises for the upper back will make you both look good and feel good. Make sure you do these exercises every week as part of your normal workout plan.

5 Benefits of Building Muscle That Most Women & Men Don’t Know About

80% from the people who go to the gym simply want to look good. Most people who go to a gym or fitness center will never think about the wide variety of health benefits of strength training to create lean muscle mass. That’s because they are too preoccupied with the thought of wanting to look like Arnold or maybe the Rock.

However, you should know the many health benefits you can enjoy through weight training to build lean muscle mass. These benefits far outweigh the esthetic or beauty improvements.

Before you decide to engage in some serious resistance training, take time to look at these important health benefits of creating muscle.

Are you aware of the many benefits of building muscle? Here’s 5 reasons why muscles are your best friends.


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VIDEO SUMMARY: 5 Benefits of Building Muscle That Most Women & Men Don’t Know About

Benefits of Muscle #1: Muscle keeps you young

• In older adults, starting around age  thirty, muscle mass in your body starts to decline or atrophy.
• If you let that happen this will start a cascade of negative events
• Muscle will keep you young. The more muscle you have the younger you look.

Benefits of Muscle #2: Muscle burns fat

According to the Mayo Clinic, building muscle may help you lose weight. Building muscle increases your whole metabolic rate and metabolism, which means your body’s ability to burning calories from fat faster. When you build muscle mass, the body requires more calories in order to assistance the muscle tissue, compared to fat cells. Building muscle and improving your body’s structure will help your body burn more calories to support the particular muscle tissue.

• Muscle increases the amount of calories you burn throughout the day
• It’s like putting a bigger engine in your car.
• Muscles are the engines in our bodies.
• Increase the size of the engine and you will burn more calories at rest.

Benefits of Muscle #3: Muscle keeps you healthy.

• Overweight increases the likelihood for diabetes, stroke and other illnesses.
• Muscle is one of the most effective weapons you can use to combat body fat and stay healthy through life.

Benefits of Muscle #4: Muscle gives you motivation and self-esteem

• Building muscle gives a massive boost to your motivation for accelerated results.
• With results comes confidence. Confidence that will affect all areas of your life.

Benefits of Muscle #5: Muscle makes you look good

• Muscle is the only tissue that can shape and tone the body.
• Muscle is a lot denser than fat so as you lose fat and build muscle you will get smaller.
• Men will naturally build more muscle than women and why women should never fear muscle.

What’s the most effective way to build muscle?

• Muscle is built with the right kind of weight training.
• In the gym, focus on progressive strength training that increases your metabolism.

Strength Training Takes Effort

It takes lots of stamina and strength to build lean muscle tissue. You will be lifting weights or using resistance machines.

Your first time at the gym may not allow you to exercise with much weight, but with time you will progress to heavier weights or more resistance. This easily translates to developing power and endurance because it lets you strengthen the many underused muscles in different parts of your body.

Building muscle will literally take your breath away. And lifting weights is just one of the numerous things that can help improve your cardiovascular stamina and health. According to the Mayo Medical center, any form of exercise or strength training can help reduce the occurrence of chronic diseases. Strength training can help reduce the chances of suffering from arthritis, obesity, diabetes, back pain, and osteoporosis. When you apply effort beyond a normal range, you will be pushing your body to its limits, and your heart and lungs are included.

Of course, you should seek the advice of your health care professional before you start on a weight training or resistance training program. Make sure you are healthy enough to undertake the exertions necessary to build lean muscle mass.

Benefits of Supplementing With Creatine

Creatine monohydrate helps build lean muscle mass. This is especially important for those who have experienced muscle atrophy because of various diseases or through lack of exercise.

Muscle atrophy is serious and can result in a reduced lifestyle. Eventually walking and balancing can be adversely affected. Falls and other injuries can compound the negative effects of muscle atrophy. This is why reversing muscle atrophy, building lean muscle mass, is so important.

Exercise, especially resistance exercise, along with creatine supplementation can help reverse muscle atrophy.

Dos and Don’ts of Muscle Recovery

In today’s video, I want to talk to you about the dos and the don’ts of muscle recovery.

1. Don’t over train (take off 1-2 days a week)
2. Don’t consume a lot of sugar or fast food
3. Don’t do a lot of isolated movements

1. You do want to eat an anti-inflammatory diet
2. Get plenty of protein and amino acids
3. You want to do compounding movements
4. Eat more fruits and vegetables

Following these dos and don’ts, you will see improvements in your muscle recovery.

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What Exactly is Creatine?

Creatine is an amino acid (amino acids are the building blocks of protein). Creatine is made in the body by the liver and kidneys. It is derived from a diet containing meat and animal products. Creatine (creatine monohydrate) is a without color, crystalline substance used in muscle tissue for production of phosphocreatine, an important factor in the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the source of energy for muscle contractions and many other functions in the body.

What Does Creatine Supplementation Normally Do in the Body?

In the body, creatine is changed into a molecule known as “phosphocreatine” which serves as a storage space reservoir for quick energy. Phosphocreatine is especially important in tissues like the voluntary muscles and the nervous system which periodically require large amounts of energy.

Why do Athletes Take Creatine Monohydrate?

Studies have shown that creatine monohydrate may increase performance of athletes during activities that require quick bursts of energy, such as sprinting or weight lifting, and can help sportsmen recover faster after exercise. Creatine is great for the professional bodybuilder and those doing resistance training. It helps increase muscle mass, instead of muscle endurance, so it’s not suitable for athletes participating in endurance activities.

Why Have I Been Hearing So Much About Creatine in Neuromuscular Disorders?

Two scientific studies have indicated that creatine may be beneficial for neuromuscular disorders. First, a study simply by MDA-funded researcher M. Flint Beal of the Cornell University Medical Center showed that creatine was twice as effective as the prescription drug riluzole in extending the lives of rodents with the degenerative neural disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease). Second, a study by Canadian researchers Mark Tarnopolsky and Joan Martin of McMaster University Medical Center in Ontario, found that creatine can cause modest increases of strength in people with a variety of neuromuscular disorders. Beal’s work was released in the March 1999 issue of Nature Neuroscience and a second document was published in the March 99 issue of Neurology.

I Want to Begin Taking Creatine — Is it Safe?

For the most part, athletes haven’t experienced adverse side-effects while taking creatine, although recently there were a few reports of kidney damage linked to creatine usage. No consistent toxicity has been reported in research of creatine supplementation. Dehydration is reported to be a problem while using creatine.

Athletes generally take a “loading dose” of 20 grams of creatine a day for five or even six days, then continue using a “maintenance dose” of 2 to 5 grams of creatine per day thereafter.

What Are the Side Effects?

Little is well known about long-term side effects of creatine, but no consistent toxicity has been reported in studies of creatine supplementation. In a study of unwanted effects of creatine, diarrhea was the most often reported adverse effect of creatine supplements, followed by muscle cramping. Several reports showed that kidney, liver organ, and blood functions were not impacted by short-term higher amounts or long lasting lower amounts of creatine supplementation in healthy young adults. In a small study of individuals taking 5-30 grams per day, no change in kidney function was noticed even after up to five years of supplements. Muscle cramping after creatine supplements has been anecdotally reported in some research.

Benefits of Taking Creatine

• increases athletic efficiency
• increases muscle mass
• good for muscular disorders

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Fitness After 50

Fitness simply means that your body is in good health and able to perform normal tasks that you  expect of your body. This requires that you fuel your body with the proper nutrients every day. It also requires that you keep your body in top shape by keeping your muscles strong and your bones and joints in good repair.

For most people, fitness means a toned, well proportioned body.

But have you also noticed that this look of a well proportioned body starts to change to bagginess when older adults reach the age of 40 or 50? The body reaches its peak of health between 20 and 30 years of age. After this the body starts to slowly show a decrease in healthfulness and we tend to put on weight a little faster year by year.

Part of the reason for this is that after 30 we begin to lose muscle mass to what is called muscle atrophy (muscle shrinkage due to disuse). You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Use it or lose it.” This applies to your muscles.

We also begin to lose bone density leading very slowly to eventual osteoporosis.

We put on weight faster because we lose muscle mass. Muscle is active tissue and therefore burns calories. When we start to lose muscle to atrophy our metabolism begins to slow down. Unless we reduce our eating, our body will not burn all the calories we consume. The body will store these calories as more fat and we will gain weight.

Is there anything you can do to help reverse this process?

The answer is yes.

exercise photo

Photo by Sole Treadmill

You must make exercise a normal part of your daily life.

A good exercise program includes aerobic and resistance exercises with some stretching.

Many people believe that aerobic fitness exercises are the ultimate way to lose and keep maintaining weight. But, 75% of the calories you burn are burned while you are resting. Aerobic fitness exercise only burns calories through the activity and then for a couple of hours during recovery.

Resistance exercises or strength training, on the other hand, help build and maintain muscle. And since muscle is active tissue, added muscle mass burns more calories, even at rest. One pound of extra fat burns around 4 calories per day while one pound of muscle burns around 50 calories per day. According to Dr. Michael Roizen, after 35 years of age, an inactive person will lose about 5% of their muscle mass every 10 years.

For the inactive person, the lose of muscle mass means a reduced metabolism. For every pound of muscle mass lost, the metabolism goes down by about 50 calories. That is, the body burns 50 fewer calories each day for every 1 pound of muscle loss.

You know that most people are struggling to lose weight. They try one diet plan after another. But, the problem is not in choosing the right diet program. The problem is the loss of more and more muscle mass.

How to Get Fit at 50 Years Old

The real solution is to getting fit at 50 years of age is to include resistance training into your exercise routine. Adding resistance training to a regular exercise routine will slow down and reverse many of the “effects of aging”. People, even in their 80s and 90s, have seen as much as a 200% improvement in their strength levels within 3-4 weeks of starting to exercise. High intensity resistance training also helps improve bone mineral density, meaning stronger bones.

You can get and stay fit and trim after 50. The way to do this is clear. Exercising with resistance is an absolute must if you want to stay in peak condition and feel young and alive. And you can do it, even well past 50.