Preventing Sarcopenia: Three Things You Need to Know to Avoid Muscle Loss as you Age
Avoid Frailty Syndrome and Stay Independent as you Age.
What is sarcopenia and who gets it?
Once we hit 50, we’re all at risk of getting sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is disease that causes muscle mass loss, which results in reduced muscle power and overall strength. This can lead to frailty in older adults, a loss of independence and ultimately death.
What causes muscle loss with age?
Inactivity is the leading cause of Sarcopenia. As we get older the amount of time spent exercising decreases and a more sedentary lifestyle kicks in. Unfortunately, more and more people are living sedentary lifestyles these days.
Other factors that may contribute to sarcopenia include lower concentrations of some hormones that decrease as we age, such as growth hormone, testosterone, and insulin-like growth factor. Additionally, insulin resistance, inflammation, oxidative stress, and lack of proper nutrition, especially adequate protein, which helps maintain and feed muscle mass can also lead to Sarcopenia. Older people often don’t get enough protein in their diets and can suffer from malnutrition without realizing it. Plus, as we age, sometimes there is a decrease in the ability to turn protein into energy.
Can sarcopenia be prevented?
Yes! Sarcopenia is not an inevitable part of the aging process. In fact, it’s preventable and even reversible. By maintaining a physically active lifestyle and watching what you eat, you’ll increase your quality of life and life expectancy compared to sedentary people.
- Strength training is the most effective way to treat sarcopenia and is the best way to prevent or slow it down. Not only will lifting weights increase muscle strength and it can help the neuromuscular system as well as the production of hormones. It can also improve the ability to convert protein to energy in as little as two weeks.
- Make sure you eat enough protein. Studies show that leucine-enriched mix of essential amino acids increase protein synthesis more than other forms of protein. Foods containing leucine include milk, cheese, beef, tuna, chicken, peanuts, soybeans and eggs.
- Do physical activity every day. In addition to following a strength training program, there are benefits to playing sports like tennis or going for a bike ride.
Before you embark upon any exercise routine, please check with your doctor or healthcare professional.