Why is muscle fiber important?


Muscle fiber plays a crucial role in our bodies, particularly as we age. There are generally two types of muscle fibers: fast twitch and slow twitch. Fast twitch fibers are essential for high-intensity, explosive actions such as sprinting and lifting heavy objects. They are, however, more susceptible to atrophy as we age, especially if not regularly activated through high-force activities. This reduction in fast twitch fibers is problematic because it diminishes our ability to perform quick movements, such as catching ourselves during a fall, which can prevent injuries 1.

Moreover, muscle fiber types can be influenced by exercise. Both types of fibers are essential for different functions and can adapt based on the training they receive. For example, endurance training typically enhances the endurance capabilities of slow twitch fibers, while strength training can increase the size and strength of fast twitch fibers 2.

The aging process often involves a selective reduction in fast twitch muscle fibers, impacting overall muscle function and increasing the likelihood of falls and injuries as we age. Thus, maintaining a balance of both fiber types through varied exercise routines is crucial to sustaining muscle function throughout one's life 3.

Muscle Fiber Physiology

Andy and Andrew discuss the importance of maintaining fast twitch muscle fibers as we age, and how exercise can help change muscle fiber type. They also explore the differences in muscle fiber distribution in various muscles of the body.

Huberman Lab

Dr. Andy Galpin: How to Assess & Improve All Aspects of Your Fitness | Huberman Lab Guest Series