Sarcopenia is a relatively new term for the most insidious health crisis in the world. Sarcopenia is a disease that impacts all of us as we age. And there is only one known way to prevent it and treat it.
Here are the 5 most important things you need to know about Sarcopenia:
- Sarcopenia is the loss of skeletal muscle mass due to aging
The functions of skeletal muscle include control of movement and posture; regulation of metabolism; storage of energy; acting as a primary source of amino acids for the brain and immune system; and acting as a substrate for malnutrition/starvation, injury/wound healing and disease. Maintaining skeletal mass is critical not only for remaining physically independent but also for survival.
- Sarcopenia effects half of all older adults
More than 18 million Americans suffer from sarcopenia. One in three adults over 60 have the disease, and that number increases to over 50 percent by the time they reach age 80.
- Muscle loss from Sarcopenia begins in our 30s
Beginning in our 30s, every single human being on earth develops sarcopenia. Every year we get weaker and weaker unless we proactively work against the muscle loss. The erosion of strength accelerates in our 50s and continue to increase as we move into our 60s. By our mid-70s, there is an exponential increase in the loss of lean tissue.
- Sarcopenia can cause muscle weakness, frailty, and loss of independence
The loss of strength that accompanies sarcopenia will dramatically impact your physical health. This loss of strength makes it hard to recover is we lose our balance. As we become weaker, we become more cautious and less physically active. When we are less active, we are weaker. The downward spiral continues.
- Strength training is the only treatment for Sarcopenia
You can counteract this loss of muscle tissue with strength training, which will also have a positive effect on many other chronic diseases. We’re living longer. Strength is critically important to enjoying the extra four or five decades that we each have been given through medical science advances over the last century. Strength training at least three times a week as you age is the recognized treatment for combating the devastating effects of sarcopenia.
Of all of these important facts, the last one is the most important. Medical scientists at Harvard Medial School, Tufts University, the Academy of Royal Colleges, and dozens more respected medical research institutions have all concluded that intense strength training is the only way to combat the downward spiral of physical health and loss of strength that Sarcopenia causes.
Fighting Sarcopenia by getting started on a strength training program in your 40s or older, especially if you haven’t exercised regularly, can be intimidating. We’re here to help. StrongPath.com brings you all the latest research on sarcopenia and has videos and articles on beginning a workout program. Of course, it’s important to speak to your doctor before you start any program and follow her or his recommendations on how to exercise safely.
Our StrongPath founder, 86-year-old Fred Bartlit has been strength training since his 50s and, working with recognized medical scientists, has been studying Sarcopenia’s cause and treatment. His book Choosing the StrongPath has more information for you as you start on your journey to reverse the downward spiral of aging.