Feeling and being healthy is significant at any age especially when you notice a few more grey hairs. As you grow older, one of the many changes you may encounter is having ‘sarcopenia’.
On average, five to 13 percent of elderly people aged 60 to 70 years are more likely to have sarcopenia. However, the numbers increase from 11 to 50 percent as you start growing older.
Sarcopenia (muscle loss), is an age-associated condition that becomes more common in individuals over the age of 50. Sarcopenia is the result of an imbalance between ‘anabolism’ (muscle cell growth) and ‘catabolism’ (cell breakdown).
As you age, your body becomes resistant to normal growth that lead towards catabolism. Hence, resulting in muscle loss. Unfortunately, sarcopenia affects life expectancy for those who have it as compared to individuals with better muscle strength. Due to unhealthy muscles, your body becomes weak resulting in a decreased lifespan.
The good news is, there are actions that you can take to prevent and even reverse the condition. In fact, a healthy diet and regular exercise can reverse sarcopenia, increase your lifespan and quality of life. Here’s what you need to know about sarcopenia!
Ageing may be the most common cause of sarcopenia but another factor that triggers the cause of muscle loss is living a sedentary lifestyle.
A sedentary lifestyle, is an inactive way of life with practically zero physical action. An individual living a sedentary lifestyle, will be regularly sitting or resting while occupied with a movement like reading, watching television playing games on their phone or sitting in front of the computer for a significant part of the day.
This action triggers sarcopenia as it leads to a faster way of obtaining muscle loss. With not much activity or movement, your muscle strength decreases, resulting in muscle fatigue (reduces your muscles’ ability to perform well) and making it more difficult to return to normal activity.
Move it or lose it?
One of the effective way to fight against sarcopenia is to keep your muscles active. Mashing-up a few aerobic exercises, resistance trainings and balance trainings can prevent you from undergoing muscle loss. Your workout session should be no less than two to four exercise sessions for 20 to 30 minutes. In order to achieve healthy muscles, exercise weekly to ensure your muscles are always healthy and strong.
Balance exercise is one of the four types of exercise along with strength, endurance and flexibility. For example, practicing yoga or tai chi can improve your balance, strength and flexibility. Doing a lot of exercises are meant to build and define your backside, improve your balance and strengthen your muscles.
Resistance training (also called strength training or weight training) is the use of resistance and muscular contraction to build strength and build up your muscles. Resistance training are exercises such as weightlifting or using resistance bands.
When carrying out resistance training repeatedly and consistently, your muscles become stronger. Through this process, resistance exercise is the one of the best ways to increase your muscle mass and prevent muscle loss from occurring.
Exercise is the most effective way to reverse sarcopenia. Resistance training is best to increase muscle mass and strength. However, you could always have a combination of exercise programs and also include walking as a part of your exercise routine. If you’re unable to carry weights, walking for 30 to 45 minutes is good enough for you to have healthy muscles.
You are what you eat
Your eating regimen enables your muscles to strengthen, repair themselves and function properly. It’s vital to incorporate protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals in your diet.
It’s important to include proteins such as meat, seafood, eggs and milk products in your diet to replenish what is lost during your workout sessions.
Incorporate whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in your diet gives you plenty of carbohydrates that provides you with enough energy to carry out your physical activities.
The amount of carbohydrates serving depends on your age, height, weight, and level of physical activity that you carry out. It is important for you to check with a doctor on your carbohydrate intake.
Unsaturated fats are helpful in muscle recovery. These fats are found in walnuts, fish oils, peanut oil and olive oil.
Vitamins and minerals
High levels of vitamin D and Omega-3 helps in improving muscle strength and functioning. You could also consume multivitamins on a daily basis, as it enables your body to obtain the nutrients it needs.
Sources: WebMD, Premier Orthopaedics, Better Health, National Center for Biotechnology Information (Journal of cachexia, sarcopenia and muscle)