At some point during the aging process, most people start to lose muscle mass. This is known as age-related sarcopenia. Like pretty much every other disease, not everyone is affected in the same way, and probably all of us know someone who seems to have retained his strength into an advanced age. My parents didn't live long enough to be very old but I know that, even after having been burned over 60% of his body, my dad was lifting an engine out of his car one morning. He had hooked up a pulley so it's not like he was just lifting it straight up under his own power, but neither did he have a motorized lift. Meanwhile, I have trouble opening a jar. As might be expected, some of this may be due to age-related sarcopenia but, just as many of just might want to blame weight gain on thyroid problems, I am sure that much of it has to do with the fact that we tend not to use our muscles as much as we grow older. For one thing, we're not as likely to be working a job that requires heavy lifting, and many of us have given up some of the recreational activities that build muscle mass. I have noticed, to my disdain, that I have very little discernible muscle mass in my arms anymore, and that wasn't the case just ten years ago. Age-related sarcopenia is not something that is entirely within our control, however. It comes about through an actual reduction in the number of nerve cells that send the signals from the brain to the muscles to begin movement. As we age, we may have lower concentrations of some of the hormones required for muscle mass, such as growth hormones, testosterone, and insulin. There may be a decrease in the ability to turn protein into energy. Of course, it is necessary to be sure that we get enough calories and protein each day to sustain muscle mass and, as it was when we were younger, exercise is still necessary. Exercise is important, not only to build muscle directly, but it can stimulate the production of the hormones necessary to sustain it. I bought a couple of exercise balls, not the kind that you sit on or roll around on, but smaller five-pound balls that can be used to add some weight to my arms for exercising. Twenty years ago, I would have consider them to be girlie but, to be honest, I would just hurt myself on barbells.