Sarcopenia or ‘muscle wasting’ is a loss of muscle mass and coordination due to aging. To some this may seem like an inevitable fait for most elderly, but not to me. I’ve discussed before how Body Change is anti-aging, plus how important the retention of muscle tissue is during weight loss. Most don’t continue to exercise as they age, nor do they eat enough protein so they’re muscle tissue decreases. Further while people are younger and try to lose weight they often ‘diet’ which produces muscle loss (20-40% of weight loss is often muscle) that is often not recovered. They say that sarcopenia is due to 3 factors:
- motor unit restructuring: as we get older and our fast-twitch muscle fibers atrophy (die) they are replaced by slow-twitch fibers. This change of command from fast to slow is called motor unit restructuring. The slow-twitch transmits far less precise innervation than fast-twitch
- protein deficiency: as I’ve said most elderly don’t eat enough protein. It’s suggested that as we age we could use more protein than when we’re younger. Also we lose our ability to synthesize our own proteins.
- Changes hormone concentrations:As concentrations of IGF-1, testosterone, and growth hormone decline we lose some of our ability to produce and maintain muscle mass through nonessential proteins.
Signs of sarcopenia? Sagging and unresponsive facial skin from lost muscle fiber below. Sunken ribcage due to the loss of intercostal muscles. Stooped posture because of a loss of skeletal muscle, which leads to loss of support for bones of the spine, shoulders, and back that keeps one erect. Besides not properly cycling protein, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the main causes for sarcopenia later on in life. How to help/prevent? Resistance training (hello kettlebells are a great way for this, especially the cardio classes that begin with the resistance moves) has been shown to reduce occurences and has actually been shown to reverse the condition by redeveloping muscle mass. Lastly increasing protein intake can help build muscle (duh!). What we learned today? Eat protein now and lose fat rather than muscle so that you can have it for when you’re older so you won’t ‘waste away’; do resistance training like kettlebells to put sarcopenia at bay. More on Body Change and weight loss-Bodychange.net