Sarcopenia or muscle loss affects 10% of all adults over 50. It actually decreases life expectancy and it diminishes the quality of life. However, there are ways that can aid in preventing or reversing this condition. In fact, muscle loss comes with age, but if you exercise regularly and if you have a healthy diet then you will be able to increase the quality of life and life expectancy.
What is Sarcopenia?
This word means lack of flesh. It is connected to muscle degeneration and it affects people that are over 50. Adults usually lose 3% of muscle strength annually. The condition usually stems from an imbalance between signals for teardown and signals for muscle cell growth. The processes connected with the first one are called catabolism whereas the ones that are connected with the latter are called anabolism. With age, the body will become resistant to growth signals and catabolism processes will outweigh it. This is when you will start losing muscles.
Four Factors that Accelerate Muscle Loss
1. Immobility, Including a Sedentary Lifestyle
Disuse of muscles is the biggest cause of sarcopenia. In fact, this leads to accelerated muscle loss and increased weakness. This is why immobilization and bed rest accelerate muscle loss after an illness or injury. Hence, 2-3 weeks of reduced walking can decrease muscle strength and mass too.
2. Unbalanced Diet
A low-calorie diet that is low in protein can lead to weight loss and decreased muscle mass. Low-calories and low-protein diets are actually very common in older people and this is because of tooth problems, also gum problems and changes in swallowing when it comes to taste. If you want to prevent this, you need to eat at least 25-30 grams of protein in every meal.
After an illness of injury, inflammation usually tells the body to rebuild damaged cells. Moreover, chronic stress can also cause it and this, in turn, will lead to an imbalance of tear down and healing and eventually to muscle loss.
4. Severe Stress
People who suffer from the chronic liver disease are more at risk of sarcopenia. Also, chronic kidney diseases can lead to reduced acidity level and stress on the body and muscle loss. Shortly, this condition is more common with other conditions that lead stress for the body.
Exercise Can Reverse Sarcopenia
If you want to fight this disease then you need to keep the muscles alive. This is what you can do.
1. Resistance Training
You can try pulling resistance bands, moving a part of your body against gravity and weightlifting. When you try these, the tension on the muscles will give you a boost in strength. This types of exercises will also boost the growth-promoting hormones.
2. Fitness Training
Aerobic exercise and endurance training can also help as well. In fact, a lot of studies that have been done have shown that it can prevent muscle loss. Flexibility and resistance are of utmost importance.
One study with 227 Japanese people over 65 has discovered that 6 months of walking can lead to muscle growth.
Four Nutrients that Fight Sarcopenia
It has been proven scientifically that if you eat less than 35 grams of protein at every meal, it will lead to muscle growth.
2. Vitamin D
Taking vitamin D as a supplement will definitely boost muscle growth and strength.
3. Omega-3 Fats
It has also been proven scientifically that if you combine 2 grams of fish oil supplement and resistance training, it will increase the muscle strength even more.
There were participants in a study that took creatine and they obtained many benefits from it combined with resistance training.
Now that you are informed enough, we are sure that sarcopenia will be a problem of the past!