The Foot of the Matter: Muscle Mass, Aging, and Your Feet

The Foot of the Matter: Muscle Mass, Aging, and Your Feet

Getting older means a lot of changes for our bodies, one of those changes is muscle loss (through a process called sarcopenia).. This isn’t just about getting weaker or not looking as buff and it doesn’t just impact our biceps or triceps; it affects our feet too! Because muscle aging is inevitable it is helpful to know why it happens and what you can do to slow it down. 

Here’s why keeping muscle as we age is super important for keeping our feet healthy and happy.

Why Muscles and Feet Are BFFs

Muscles do a lot for our feet. They help keep us stable so we don’t fall over, make moving around easier, and soak up the shock every time our foot hits the ground. Less muscle means our feet have to deal with more pounding and can get sore or injured more easily. That is why you tend to see injury due to simple accidents in people who have lower muscle mass. 

When Feet Feel the Burn

As you age, there are conditions of the feet which will become more likely to happen due to the decrease of muscle mass. Exercise and strength training can help prevent these conditions.

  • Plantar Fasciitis: Ever feel a sharp pain in your heel? That could be because your foot muscles aren’t strong enough to keep everything in place.
  • Arthritis: When muscles around the foot weaken, the joints in our feet work harder and can get worn out, leading to arthritis.
  • Diabetic Foot Issues: Staying active helps control blood sugar, which keeps diabetes in check and your feet in better shape.

Maintaining muscle mass through activity helps support the health of our feet by:

  • Enhancing overall foot structure and function, reducing the risk of foot-related complications.
  • Improving blood circulation which is particularly important for diabetic individuals to prevent foot issues.
  • Helping control blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, thereby reducing the risk of neuropathy and other foot complications.

Keeping Muscles Strong for Foot Health

While the idea of sarcopenia seems discouraging for some, there’s hope to hold on to for those who know how to slow down the process and still have an overall healthy body. Here’s how to keep your muscles and feet feeling good:

  • Get Moving: Exercises that make you bear weight, like walking or lifting weights, are great for keeping muscles strong, especially around your feet.
  • Eat Right: Muscles love protein, so make sure you’re eating enough to help them rebuild and stay strong. You can find protein in meat, egg, tofu, and legumes. You can also drink protein supplements if you are unable to meet your daily protein requirement. 
  • Foot Workouts: Yes, your feet need exercise too! Try wiggling your toes, lifting your heels, or rolling your ankles to keep those foot muscles working. Mobility is vital for a healthy pair of feet.

Ask the Pros: If you’re not sure where to start or if your feet are already bothering you, a podiatrist or a physical therapist can help with exercises and advice.

Read more: Best at home balance exercises for older adults.

How Insoles Support Aging Muscles

Insoles play a role in supportive function so your feet will have decreased risk of foot conditions connected to sarcopenia. Taking a preventive approach is much better than having to treat the conditions at an age where recovery takes more time.

  • Support and Stability: Insoles add support to areas like arches and heels, compensating for muscle loss, maintaining foot alignment, and easing strain on muscles and joints.

  • Shock Absorption: As muscles lose their shock-absorbing ability with age, insoles with shock-absorbing materials protect the feet and joints from impact, reducing stress throughout the body.

    • Reduced Muscle Fatigue: Insoles improve foot alignment and support, evenly distributing weight across the foot, preventing muscle overuse and fatigue.

    • Enhanced Mobility: Proper support from insoles can decrease discomfort, promoting an active lifestyle essential for slowing muscle loss and maintaining strength.

    • Prevents Foot Conditions: Age increases the risk of foot problems like plantar fasciitis or bunions. Insoles help by correcting foot mechanics, preventing these conditions.

    Orange Insoles play a key role in addressing the challenges of muscle aging, offering a simple way to enhance foot health, mobility, and overall quality of life.

    Study Shows: Sarcopenia Reduced In Strength Training Elderly

    It’s important to understand that muscle aging isn’t your body inevitably deteriorating to complete loss of motor function. It simply means that your muscles might not be as strong or recover as quickly as they used to. This natural change is part of the aging process, but it doesn’t mean you have to accept decreased mobility or a lower quality of life. With the right strategies, such as regular exercise, proper nutrition, and supportive measures like wearing insoles, you can significantly mitigate the effects of muscle aging. These steps can help maintain muscle mass, improve balance and stability, and ensure your feet – the foundation of your mobility – are well-supported, allowing you to stay active and engaged in the activities you love.

    There have been studies about The Intensity and Effects of Strength Training in Elderly. Research shows that strength exercises can boost muscle strength in those over 60 by enhancing muscle mass and improving motor unit function. The benefits extend beyond just increased muscle strength; it includes better balance, reduced risk of falls, and enhanced mobility, making it a key component in maintaining independence and quality of life in older age.

    Just Keep Moving

    Before you start jumping into every fitness studio or lifting weights, always ensure you consult with a professional to avoid injuring yourself by attempting exercises beyond your physical capacity. Remember, if your goal is health, there are no shortcuts, and the process will take time. In the study, individuals experienced muscle growth by training 3-4 times a week at 60%-86% intensity.

    If intense workouts aren't your preference, don’t worry. Simply avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Throughout the day, it’s better to continually move around, walk, and use your bodily functions to maintain good circulation and constant muscle engagement.

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