How To Fight Sarcopenia (Gradual Loss Of Muscle Mass Due To Aging)
Many people say that as we grow older, we get smaller and smaller. There’s truth in this though. Namely, as we get older, we lose muscle mass and strength, which is why many people look fragile, weak and thinner. Medically, the process of decreasing muscle mass and strength is called sarcopenia.
What Are The Causes Of Sarcopenia?
Health experts say that people who don’t eat well and don’t exercise are at a higher risk of losing their muscle mass with age. However, it can also affect people who exercise regularly.
The main causes of sarcopenia are as follows:
– Poor nutrition (insufficient intake of protein and calories)
– Inability to turn protein into energy
– No physical activity
– Decreased connections between the nerves from the brain and the muscles
– Low concentrations of testosterone and the growth hormone
What Are The Symptoms?
Muscle mass represents 60% of the body in a young adult. Thus, muscle loss will have profound repercussions on the well-being of an older person.
The most common symptoms of this condition are related to loss of muscle mass, strength and function. A person with sarcopenia experiences fatigue and weakness, has mobility problems, tendency to fall, fragile bones, looks thinner, or in some cases, can gain weight.
Also, there’s an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and hypertension.
Sarcopenia And Obesity
We have said that the main symptom of sarcopenia is the decrease in muscle mass, which would explain the thinness of some older people. But, obese people can have this condition as well. Studies have shown that fat cells have the ability to invade muscle tissue, which decreases the functional muscle mass. Consequently, there are obese people with a severe decrease in muscle mass.
How To Prevent It Naturally?
Knowing that sarcopenia mainly originates from bad life habits and the process of natural aging, it is important to focus our efforts on adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. With this being said, it’s important to for you to have a balanced diet, with an adequate amount of animal proteins and vegetables of high quality. Different types of fish and lean meats are important sources of animal protein, while quinoa and lentils are excellent sources of vegetable protein.
It is essential to understand that in order to maintain an adequate function, the muscles of the human body need daily physical activity. Also, it’s important to remember that there are two types of exercises, aerobic and anaerobic.
Aerobic exercises are those that need a lot of oxygen to perform (running, swimming, playing basketball, football, etc.). This type of exercise is excellent for the cardiovascular health, as it stimulates the functioning of the heart, lungs and blood vessels.
Anaerobic exercise needs less oxygen and more muscle activity to perform. Lifting weights or doing muscle tension exercises are the best examples.
In order to prevent sarcopenia, it’s imperative for you to practice both, but the anaerobic exercise is of greater importance. Daily stretching exercises, resistance exercises and use of weights for the arms and legs are just a few examples.