Topic of the Week
July 3rd, 2017
One of the issues associated with aging is a “condition” known as sarcopenia or age related loss of muscle. For many, loss of muscle tissue seems to be accepted as an inevitable factor of aging that cannot be avoided. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sarcopenia results in decreased strength, reduced physical capacity (both strength and endurance) as well as reduced protein reserves. It is caused by poor nutritional choices (older people actually need MORE protein not less) and a lack of challenging physical activity over time. Additionally it is secondarily caused by a loss of motor units (the nerves that promote muscular contraction) as we age as well as an age related modification of hormone levels. But, as stated, these changes in our bodies as we age can be ameliorated or slowed by a better eating plan coupled with regular exercise.
It has been estimated that more than 20% of all adults over 65 have some forms of sarcopenia. This is probably best evidenced by the number of people in “nursing homes” that are not really sick but, rather, are so DE-conditioned that they can't function without help. It appears today that nearly 20% of our “older” population has this condition and that the annual cost to our health care system is well over 20 billion dollars. That's nearly an additional thousand dollars per year for every person in that category. Regular exercise by this population could help to eliminate much of that cost.
It is also the cause of what has become known as “sarcopenic obesity”. This is a “condition” where the lean body mass or muscle tissue is lost over time and gradually replaced by fat tissue. This does not mean that the muscle “turns” to fat (an old wives tale that never seems to go away) but, rather, the lower caloric need of a body that has less muscle means that more calories, over time, are saved as fat. In addition, individuals that have less muscle mass also have a tendency to move around less or challenge the body with regular exercise. This causes the body to give up or lose MORE muscle mass due to the lower level of activity. This vicious cycle, when accomplished over many months or years, produces and/or perpetuates the condition. What's the answer? GET UP AND MOVE ! Regardless of age, it's never too late to reverse the muscle loss process by participating in regular exercise that includes both aerobic (like walking) and anaerobic (strength training) components. Strength and lean tissue gains have been increased in study populations of individuals well into their 90's (one test subject that gained significant levels of strength was 96!).
So don't think that you can't reduce the trend of reduced muscle tissue and strength, reduced physical activity, reduced aerobic capacity and poor dietary choices just because you are over 40 (or even 30). There is no time like the present to become a more active adult and healthier ”senior”. The result will be greater strength, more energy, better general health and less dependence on medication as the years roll by.
Originally published on September 02, 2017 by SpeakerMatch Speakers Bureau