One key way to stay fit is to exercise regularly. But as we all know, the pandemic can make that a little tricky. So what happens when we have to stay inside, work from home and generally stay inactive? Well, this would result in muscle slowly becoming weaker and eventually shrinking¹. This ultimately results in a loss of muscle, bone density, and possible nerve pain¹. Nutrition and exercise are ever-growing and interrelated disciplines. To fully understand one of these, you must understand the other.
Since going to the gym has become difficult due to the ongoing pandemic, we can focus on nutrition and more specifically, protein. Protein is what the body uses to create and maintain muscle. So could consuming more protein in your diet reduce overall muscle loss? Researchers investigated this question in the following study. Subjects were randomly split into a high protein and control group (No added protein to diet). Both groups wore knee braces to limit their movement in one phase. The next phase was completed without a knee brace. In the last phase, both groups completed weight training. Both groups lost the same amount of muscle but the high protein group gained a greater amount of muscle mass than the no protein group after the knee brace phase.
As a result, adding more protein to your diet while in lockdown isn’t necessary because it doesn’t slow the rate of muscle loss². However, as the province begins to reopen and we have more opportunities to be active, it is important to increase protein to better equip your body with the nutrients needed to recover and create muscle which will ultimately lead to reduced anxiety, stress, and positively affects general well-being and mood³.
Jacques, E. (2019, November 3). How disuse atrophy can be prevented with exercise. Retrieved March 26, 2021, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-disuse-atrophy-2564682
Mitchell, C., Institute, L., D’Souza, R., Mitchell, S., Figueiredo, V., Miller, B., . . . Dirks, M. (2018, March 23). Impact of dairy protein during limb immobilization and recovery on muscle size and protein synthesis; a randomized controlled trial. Retrieved March 28, 2021, from https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.00803.2017
Thomas Stephens, Physical activity and mental health in the United States and Canada: Evidence from four population surveys, Preventive Medicine, Volume 17, Issue 1, 1988, Pages 35-47, ISSN 0091-7435, https://doi.org/10.1016/0091-7435(88)90070-9