How fast do you lose muscle?

Muscle loss is a growing concern as the U.S. population continues to age. While there are factors that naturally cause muscle loss, other steps can be taken to slow the decrease and, in turn, lead to a longer, healthier life.


The rate of muscle loss depends on several factors: age, activity level, lack of sleep, and eating habits.



Since muscle requires a higher amount of calories than fat tissue, a person who maintains a steady caloric intake while muscle mass decreases with age will gain weight from the excess calories.


Sarcopenia is the term for general muscle loss related to age. Muscle loss begins to accelerate after the age of 30 in physically inactive people, usually around 3 to 5 percent per decade.


Light resistance training and regular activity can prevent accelerated muscle loss. It is recommended that an individual get at least 30 minutes to one of hour of regular activity/exercise.

Expert Insight

In addition to regular activity, eating properly can help delay muscle loss. Both proteins and carbohydrates help to build and facilitate muscles.


Men’s Fitness: Ways to lose muscle

Sarcopenia research

“NASM Essentials for Personal Fitness Training”; Michael A. Clark, Ed., Scott C. Lucett, Ed., Rodney J. Corn, Ed.; 2008.

More Information:

Weight Watchers: Myths of Exercise

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