Sarcopenia: the loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength as a result of ageing
Sarcopenia /ˌsɑːkəʊˈpiːnɪə/ n. 1. Poverty of Flesh 2. The loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength as a result of ageing.
Great news! We’ve found another condition to scare you into exercising! Like Osteopenia/Osteoporosis, Arthritis, Kyphosis, Coronary Artery Disease, Obesity (the list goes on) this one also sounds like something you should avoid – and you should. Often under-diagnosed, people with Sarcopenia are led to believe that it’s just an inevitable part of ageing. Which if you look at the causes, is only partly true...
Poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyle, reduced concentration of hormones that trigger our body to build muscle and reduced exercise all lead to one in three of Australian’s over the age of 60 having Sarcopenia. The rate of muscle strength loss during ageing is reported to be up to 1%–3% per year while the decline in muscle power – the ability to apply strength quickly - is reported to be even greater.
Besides being unable to remove yourself from low or awkward seats (no more bucket seats in your Ferrari) the condition often means people are more susceptible to Type 2 Diabetes, Osteoporosis, falls and, as with the aforementioned Ferrari, loss of quality of life.
The solution to keeping muscle can be (in part) as simple as the saying “use it or lose it.” The picture below is an example of how exercise can impact this “age-related” disease. Notice the dark mass on the MRI is skeletal tissue and the light is adipose tissue (body fat)
As with most conditions, any exercise can assist people’s decline into muscle loss, but the best exercise appears to be load-bearing, resistance exercise (the heavy and hard stuff). If you’d like to get an Exercise Prescription that suits your needs, get in touch today.