Stay Strong! Preventing Sarcopenia
As we age, our bodies can become more vulnerable to muscle loss also known as sarcopenia. This condition is primarily a disease of the elderly. It’s caused by various factors including neurological decline, hormonal changes, inflammation, chronic illness, and poor nutrition. It is one of the primary causes of functional decline and loss of independence in older adults.
The average adult over age 30 begins losing muscle mass. Sedentary adults have a risk losing up to 30% of muscle mass by age 75 or experience a 3% to 8% loss of muscle mass per decade. Also, after the age 50, strength declines at a 12-15% rate. This loss can lead to severe consequences including loss of function, disability, and development of chronic frailty which increases risk of falls and mortality.
The primary ways to prevent sarcopenia are exercise and nutrition. Exercises such as resistance training have shown that in just three to four months adults can increase strength by double or triple their current strength ability. Weight training improves endurance and increases muscles.
Nutritionally, following a healthy diet earlier on in life such as the Mediterranean Diet can lower the risk of sarcopenia. The consumption of high-quality protein for elderly can help achieve optimal health outcomes such as healthy aging, increased muscle mass and strength, appetite regulation, and weight management.
Eating lots of brightly colored vegetables is highly recommended. These contain antioxidants which will help reduce inflammation and prevent oxidative stress, both of which can lower the risk of developing sarcopenia. Finally, don’t overlook the importance of getting some sun. Vitamin D its important because it enables us to absorb calcium, which is vital for bone strength and has been linked to improved muscle mass.
Even though aging is a natural process, conditions such as sarcopenia can be prevented by simple actions taken every day. Healthy eating and exercise will also improve our quality of life.