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Sarcopenia: Age Related Muscle Loss and How to Prevent It


Updated: Sep 8

Sarcopenia is the term used for the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength. We lose anywhere from 2-8% of our muscle mass every decade of life starting at age 30. This accelerates in menopause and after the age of 65. Sarcopenia can have several negative effects on overall health and well-being. Here are some of the hazards and consequences associated with sarcopenia:

  1. Reduced Physical Function: Sarcopenia can lead to decreased physical strength and functional capacity. This can make everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs, and lifting objects more challenging, leading to a decline in overall quality of life.
  2. Increased Risk of Falls: Weakened muscles and reduced strength increase the risk of falls, which can result in fractures and other injuries, especially in older adults. Sarcopenia can also impact balance and coordination.
  3. Loss of Independence: As physical function declines due to sarcopenia, individuals may become more dependent on others for assistance with daily tasks. This loss of independence can affect mental well-being and overall life satisfaction.
  4. Impaired Metabolism: Muscle tissue is metabolically active and plays a role in regulating metabolism. Loss of muscle mass can lead to a decrease in basal metabolic rate, making it easier to gain weight and potentially contributing to obesity and related health issues.
  5. Insulin Resistance: Sarcopenia has been associated with insulin resistance, a condition where the body’s cells do not respond effectively to insulin. This can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  6. Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases: Sarcopenia has been linked to an increased risk of various chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and metabolic syndrome.
  7. Poor Wound Healing: Muscles are important for wound healing and recovery after surgery or injuries. Sarcopenia can lead to delayed healing and increased complications.
  8. Decreased Bone Density: Muscle and bone health are closely interconnected. Loss of muscle mass can contribute to decreased bone density, increasing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
  9. Impaired Immune Function: Muscles are involved in immune response. Sarcopenia can lead to compromised immune function and potentially increase susceptibility to infections.
  10. Reduced Respiratory Function: Muscles involved in breathing can be affected by sarcopenia. Weakened respiratory muscles may contribute to breathing difficulties and reduced lung function.
  11. Cognitive Implications: Some studies suggest a link between sarcopenia and cognitive decline, although the exact nature of this relationship is still being explored.
  12. Reduced Quality of Life: Collectively, these hazards of sarcopenia can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, leading to decreased physical abilities, social engagement, and overall well-being.

It’s important to note that while sarcopenia is commonly associated with aging, it can also affect younger individuals due to factors such as sedentary lifestyles, poor nutrition, and certain medical conditions. Taking proactive steps to prevent or manage sarcopenia through exercise, proper nutrition, and a healthy lifestyle can help mitigate these hazards and promote better overall health and longevity. Here are some strategies to help prevent or mitigate the progression of sarcopenia:

  1. Regular Strength Training: Engage in resistance or strength training exercises regularly. This can include weight lifting, bodyweight exercises, resistance bands, and machines. Strength training helps stimulate muscle growth and prevents muscle loss.
  2. Adequate Protein Intake: Protein is essential for muscle maintenance and growth. Make sure to include sufficient protein in your diet. Good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
  3. Balanced Diet: Consume a well-rounded diet that includes a variety of nutrients. Focus on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Nutrient deficiencies can contribute to muscle loss.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration is important for muscle function. Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps and reduced muscle performance.
  5. Calcium and Vitamin D: These nutrients are important for bone health, which in turn supports muscle health. Include dairy products, fortified foods, and sunlight exposure for adequate vitamin D.
  6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and can support muscle health. Include fatty fish like salmon, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts in your diet.
  7. Limit Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to muscle wasting and negatively impact muscle recovery. Limit alcohol intake to promote muscle health.
  8. Adequate Sleep: Sleep is crucial for muscle recovery and growth. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.
  9. Manage Stress: Chronic stress can lead to muscle breakdown. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and hobbies you enjoy.
  10. Avoid Sedentary Lifestyle: Stay physically active throughout the day. Incorporate movement into your routine, even if it’s just walking, to prevent muscle atrophy.
  11. Stay Consistent: Consistency is key when it comes to preventing sarcopenia. Make exercise and healthy eating habits a part of your regular routine.
  12. Emsculpt Neo: Another option to help build muscle is with the Emsculpt Neo. The Emsculpt Neo uses two different technologies – HIFEM (high-intensity focused electromagnetic technology) as well as radiofrequency to help build muscle and burn fat. In each 30 minute session, there are an equivalent of 20,000 contractions provided with minimal soreness afterwards. In addition to muscle building, the radiofrequency energy burns approximately 30% of fat in the treated area. It can be used on the biceps, triceps, abdominal muscles, glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings.

Remember that preventing sarcopenia requires a long-term commitment to a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to tailor your approach based on your individual needs, preferences, and any medical considerations you may have. Consulting with healthcare and fitness professionals can help you create a personalized plan for preventing sarcopenia. For more information, give us at a call 408-378-1101!