Are you at risk for Sarcopenia?
As we age we start to lose muscle mass and function. The cause is age-related sarcopenia or sarcopenia with aging. Physically inactive people can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you’ll still have some muscle loss. There’s no test or specific level of muscle mass that will diagnose sarcopenia. Any loss of muscle matters because it lessens strength and mobility. Sarcopenia typically happens faster around age 75. But it may also speed up as early as 65 or as late as 80. It’s a factor in frailty and the likelihood of falls and fractures in older adults. (pubmed)
Symptoms and Causes of Sarcopenia
Symptoms include weakness, fragility and loss of strength. Lack of activity contributes the most to sarcopenia.
- Reduction in nerve cells responsible for sending signals from the brain to the muscles to start movement
- Lower concentrations of some hormones, including growth hormone, testosterone, and insulin-like growth factor
- A decrease in the ability to turn protein into energy
- Not getting enough calories or protein each day to sustain muscle mass
Treatments for Sarcopenia
Activity and strength training are the best prescription for preventing sarcopenia. Any form of resistance training like weights, dumbbells, resistance bands will help. Resistance training can help your neuromuscular system, hormones. It also can improve an older adult’s ability to convert protein to energy. Start light and aim for 10-15 reps per movement. Try strength training 3-4 days per week and progress as you see fit. It’s a good idea to work with a professional too that can monitor you and guide you in progressions.
A proper nutrition plan, like that of the Schrock Nutrition plan is always a good addition to your prevention of sarcopenia. Prioritize protein at each meal and snack to help build the amino acids in the body need to building, and repairing muscle for growth.