From soggy bottoms to saggy bottoms, getting older brings a certain rear end fascination.
Growing up I remember jokes about ‘all the sand slipping to the bottom’ and how it was almost inevitable that womens’ bottoms would droop and soften with age.
But it isn’t. Far from it in fact. Not only are saggy bottoms completely avoidable but loss of muscle and tone, specifically in this area can seriously affect your health as you age. From back pain to bunions.
How your bottom looks may be important to you but we’re more concerned about whether it’s up to the job.
Lack of muscle in your bottom (as well as other areas of your body) could seriously affect your health.
Disappearing butt syndrome (let’s call it DBS) is something we spend a lot of time preventing, mainly from a functional perspective.
The muscle mass around your bum is known as your glutes (gluteals). Well-developed glutes look like a heart shape, since the muscle mass at the top creates the curve and their shape narrows as they go down to your legs. Glutes that have wasted away make your bum look like the heart is upside down (your bottom appears bigger around the back of your legs than it is around the hips).
The rate of sarcopenia is 1-2% per year after the age of 50. Even though you will generally lose muscle from all over your body, you will notice it most around your bum, hips and shoulders. These are the areas which hold your shape and accentuate your frame. Without them, you’ll have no padding to your skeleton.
Colin Jackson (British Hurdler) was commenting on an athlete who was about to retire from athletics. He joked, “I couldn’t believe how my bum disappeared when I wasn’t training as much!”
What do Glutes Do?
Here are a few things glutes do:
Modern life is rife with places that will create DBS. Stairs, lifts, cars etc. all contribute to lack of use.
If anyone has been to India, they might be familiar with Western v Indian toilets. When we travelled around Southern India, we noticed the toilets were much lower than the ones we were used to. In some cases, you had to squat right down to the floor. There was no toilet for older people. Everyone had to be able to do a low squat.
Many people aren’t able to perform a good squat, unless they have been taught (which is more like they’ve forgotten how to as kids can perform excellent squats). If you had to squat everyday just to use the toilet, you would go a long way in preventing DBS.
For more information on exercise and the ageing process read: Want to keep up with your grandkids? Don’t make age your excuse