Can something as simple as a reduction of daily walking decrease our lean muscle mass in a noticeable way in just 2 weeks time?.

Mike Koontz
Nov 24, 2018 · 5 min read

Fitness school question 37 by

Well, there´s no real need to ponder upon that question for the rest of your day, just head on over to my wondrous library for a healthier world ‘norse View’ and check out the complete fitness school Q and A to get the scientifically correct low down on this question and many others.

Or, scroll down to see the correct answer right here =), this is, after all, a paywalled fitness piece so no need to check out my other publishing outlets.

fitness school question and answer

Have you managed to put on your thinking cap? If so, proceed without hesitation through the hallway of healthy fit wonders :).

You already know that keeping fit and lifting your weekly weights and doing your daily cardio is nothing but a rejuvenating choice. It’s good for your strength, duh.. It is wondrously good for your harty heart health, and it aids your cognitive and creative processes.

It also help lowering depression and tardy every day drowsiness. And if you have been keeping up with me over the years, you also know that keeping fit on a regular weekly basis also lowers your physical age by quite a noticeable margin too.

But let us get down and dirty with some actual numbers and perhaps give you cold hard inspiration to just keep going with your daily health and fitness choices because even the impact of what might seem like a tiny little daily thing is profoundly big over time in a long range of ways. And that brings us to question number 37.

My Question:.
What happens with the amount of lean muscle mass for otherwise healthy people above 70 years of age if they take a few thousand steps more or less per day for 2 weeks time?.

And the short answer is.

Reducing daily steps from 6000 to roughly 1500 steps per day lowered skeletal muscle mass with 400g in just 2 weeks in otherwise healthy and physically active 70+ year olds.

And here´s the TLDR version with some additional science backed thoughts.

2018´s been a huge year for uncovering fitness-related health benefits. Study after study has shown up to peel of new and old layers of our knowledge and understanding for how profoundly we shape our own life long health right in the now and for decades to come with the fitness choices we make or skip.

In our previous question, we uncovered how you will achieve as much as a 70% reduced risk for cardiovascular mortality if you lift weights on a regular weekly basis. And prior to that we´ve talked about cancer treatments and how people that start or maintain their fitness plan during treatment will completely hold off the huge biological aging that cancer treatments otherwise do give rise too.

We have last few years seen several studies reveal how the physical mass of our brain increases with weight lifting while sedentary choices will make it shrink. Other studies have shown us how people end up much more creative and energized if they work out compared to how drowsy people feel when they make sedentary choices. In other words, science has made it perfectly clear that people that feel too tired to start going to the gym are making themselves even more tired by not working out. And those that defy their drowsy sedentary induced state end up creating more every day energy than the workout take as payment so to say.

But not every study has to be brand new, so before I ended up writing this Q and A, I decided to go back in time a few years and see if I could find something else that would mash well with recent studies and help us showcase the huge benefit of daily physical activity. Well, I did find this study from 2013 which showcased how people will drop 400g of lean muscle mass in just 2 weeks time simply by reducing their daily step count. Hence this fitness school question from ‘Norse view’ and

It is important to make note of one thing.
Health and fitness results is not just about volume, be it the number of steps you walk per day or the act of showing up at the gym and lift “any” weight.

People that actually challenge themselves in the gym reap much more health and fitness benefits, and this does not change just because you have passed 65+ years of age. So, do not forget the intensity & challenge of your fitness time too.

Like with food its about quality as much as the amount when we are talking about the complete picture instead of just one or two metrics. And for elderly people intensity can actually be profoundly important when it comes down to the actual benefit. Quite a lot of elderly gym goers simply put do not challenge themselves hard enough to get any benefits to talk about.

Part of the blame for that comes down to how a lot of gym trainers and coaches, pt´s and physical therapists are too afraid to tell elderly people that they too have to actually strain their muscles and heart to get the very real health benefits they so desire. Now, I am only mentioning to illustrate how health and fitness is not just about volume and hitting certain numbers.

The relevant study regarding daily step counts and muscle. “Two Weeks of Reduced Activity Decreases Leg Lean Mass and Induces “Anabolic Resistance” of Myofibrillar Protein Synthesis in Healthy Elderly” 2013;98:2604–2612., and you can find the link to the study over on

“ Alterations in muscle protein metabolism underlie age-related muscle atrophy. During periods of muscle disuse, muscle protein synthesis is blunted, and muscle atrophy occurs in young and old. The impact of a short reduction in physical activity on muscle protein metabolism in older adults is unknown.”

Keep on grinding people, and stay healthy fit.


From the northern halls of the Vikings home comes this tribe of creative heralds. Writers, poets, photographers, creatives, great thinkers, fitness geeks, and experts. There are no stones and thoughts, and creative adventures left unturned in the pages of Beyond2c.

Mike Koontz

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Author & Photography. PT, health & fitness. Science and sustainability advocate | ,



From the northern halls of the Vikings home comes this tribe of creative heralds. Writers, poets, photographers, creatives, great thinkers, fitness geeks, and experts. There are no stones and thoughts, and creative adventures left unturned in the pages of Beyond2c.