Sarcopenia – why every adult must know what this means

Sarcopenia – why every adult must know what this means 960 638 Geoff

For every 10 people I ask, only 2, maybe 3, have heard the term “Sarcopenia”. Given that Sarcopenia will negatively affect your quality of life as much as other physical health conditions, this is a massive failing on the part of the health and medical communities. Every single adult should know what it is and should be doing something to avoid it.

Sarcopenia is a term used to describe age-related, progressive and generalized loss of muscle mass and strength which will increase the risk for physical disability, diminished physical performance, and poor quality of life.

Skeletal muscle is the most abundant tissue in the human body, and the maintenance of its mass is essential to ensure basic function such as movement, strength and even breathing. Muscle and bone mass, strength and quality, are both lost during aging – starting in the late 20s and accelerating in the 50s. In the presence of chronic disease, pharmaceutical use, environmental factors, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity, this loss is fast-tracked.

Muscle mass is not just about appearance – muscle is life. The more muscle mass we have the higher is our resting energy expenditure – this means we burn more calories even at rest. This is the best way to lose and maintain weight. Muscle mass is our reservoir of amino acids – the building blocks of life. This has very significant ramifications for our health. Not only does this influence our ability to maintain good health, it is a critical factor in the fight against disease. For an adult, keeping your muscle mass is as important as keeping your heart in good condition.

Lack of muscle invariably means lack of strength. Strength as we all know now is the foundation of all other physical capabilities – balance, coordination, fitness, agility and power. Sadly, many women still believe that strength training will make them “bulky”. In the absence of specific programming or performance enhancing drugs, this is physically impossible – this myth really needs to die. Strength training will make you lean and, if you train really hard, it might make you look athletic. For the average trainee you will notice feeling lighter and tighter.

sarcopeniaThe GP can’t write you a script for strength or muscle mass (or bone density) so you have to get it yourself. Fortunately, this is possible to do for every human being. To increase your muscle mass you lift weights. There is no other way. And when you lift weights you also increase your bone density. Muscles pull on tendons which pull on bones which loads the bone and asks it to get stronger. This must be done using the right exercises and enough weight to make it worthwhile. Sitting in a gym machine or using very light weights will not achieve this as effectively as standing on the ground and lifting weights properly.

You also need to eat enough good quality dietary protein to provide an adequate amount of amino acids to grow some muscle and provide an environment for your body to thrive. The recommended low fat diet ensures that this does not happen which just exacerbates the problem.

Thankfully, more people might become aware of Sarcopenia in the future. Making the media at the moment is a new “disease” known as Osteosarcopenia Obesity. What is Osteosarcopenia Obesity? It is the concurrent existence of excess body fat with low bone and muscle mass. This state of being is becoming epidemic in our society and it is not just limited to the elderly – we see this now even in our youth. This is the perfect storm of physical decline which is ripping our society to shreds and costing the nation billions.

Eat real food and do real strength training that will actually get you stronger and help you build some muscle. This is the best strategy available to us all to maintain our health.

Contact us to find out how we can help you reduce your risk of sarcopenia