We all know that muscles are the engines that drive all movement in the body.
But did you know that muscles serve many other critical body functions? And that these all get affected and decline as we begin to lose muscle mass with age.
Muscles are the most metabolically active tissue in the body. Muscle cells burn more calories than any other cell in the body – even when we’re not moving, muscle cells are still burning calories.
With less muscle mass, metabolism is lowered, which is why most of us tend to gain weight once we begin to lose muscle mass. And that starts as early as our 30s!
Muscles are also key to keeping body temperature balanced. In fact, nearly 85 percent of the heat produced in the body is the result of muscle contraction. This is why heat regulation increasingly becomes a problem as we lose muscle mass (hence all the snowbirds who fly south to escape the winter cold!).
Muscles also maintain the constantly changing dynamics of our posture, which are critical for maintaining the stability of our joints.
With all these essential functions, obviously, healthy, well-functioning muscles are crucial to maintaining healthy and balanced functioning throughout life.
Unfortunately, the progressive loss of muscle mass that starts in our thirties progresses at a rate of 3–8% per decade and declines even faster after the age of 60.
The good news is that we can reverse much of this loss. Countless studies show that muscle strength and flexibility training is a panacea for reversing many of the age-related processes that set in after the age of 50.
But not just any kind of training. We need to know how.
If we stress muscles appropriately and intelligently, they respond by becoming stronger and more resilient. On the other hand, if we don’t take proper care of our muscles, they will start to break down and decrease in size and strength.
Maintaining muscular strength becomes increasingly important as we age because we tend to lose strength and power. This loss is known as sarcopenia and is partially–even mostly–preventable by staying active. Aging also tends to lead to loss of range of motion, but most of those losses are also preventable if we continue to move in a healthy way.
Knowing the basics of the cellular mechanisms that underlie muscle contractions will help you understand how muscles work at different lengths, how that affects the practice of asana, and how to strengthen your muscles effectively.
In this course, Joe Miller discusses the structure of muscles, including how muscle cells, or fibers, work with surrounding layers of connective tissue. He covers the cellular network of muscle fibers, the molecular engine that drives muscle contractions, and how that works in an asana practice.
Joe addresses how to keep the muscles healthy and reduce the impact of sarcopenia, the effects of stretching muscles, and ways to maintain muscular flexibility and resilience. In addition, he leads a practice session to help integrate and explore this knowledge in a practical and embodied way.
What you will learn:
- The typical structure of muscles, including muscle cells, connective tissue layers, fascia, and tendons
- How muscles work on a cellular level
- The physiology of muscle contractions
- Types of muscle contractions and how we use them in asana practice
- How muscle length affects the ability of muscles to contract and lengthen
- How muscles lose strength and power as we age, and how to minimize those changes
- How stretching affects muscles and how changes in flexibility happen
- How to maintain a healthy, resilient muscular system even as we age
This Course Also Includes:
- Yoga Practice Video: Enjoy a yoga practice video that accompanies this course.
- Recordings of All Webinar Sessions: It’s generally acknowledged that many people only retain 10-20 percent of what they learn in a workshop. You will get access to the recordings of all webinar sessions – both MP3 (downloadable) and MP4 (streaming online), enabling you to go back and listen to the workshop as many times as you like.
- Transcripts of All Sessions: Ever wanted to refer to a certain part of a course? Even the best note-takers miss a point every so often. With the transcripts of the webinar sessions, you can go back and refer to particularly important passages or clarify sections you were in doubt about.