It’s simple, Sarcopenia. Sarco-what, you ask?
Sarcopenia is the term associated with the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength associated with aging. After the age of 35, the average person loses about five percent of their muscle mass every ten years. By age seventy we have lost twenty to forty percent of our strength. This actually has a number of implications for us older folks. I am including myself because I’m 55 years old. However today I am just going to focus on functional mobility.
Functional mobility is the ability to move from one place to another while performing activities. For most people, functional mobility is the ability to walk, get in and out of bed, and get into and out of a chair or the ability to get around independently.
What are the effects of Sarcopenia on loss of mobility?
- The risk of disability is 1.5 to 4.6 times higher in older persons with sarcopenia than in older persons with normal muscle.
- Age‐related muscle weakness dramatically increases the risk for elderly falling. Elderly who fall have a significantly greater chance of not being able to continue living in the community.
- One half of accidental deaths among individuals age 65 and older are related to falls.
Can you combat the effects of Sarcopenia and its negative impact on your functional mobility? The short answer is “YES!” The great news is no matter how old you are, your body responds the same to exercise. Although age‐related muscle loss is unavoidable, an exercise program and interventions can halt or reverse Sarcopenia. In fact researchers have reported that resistance exercise is an effective way to fight age-related declines in muscle mass and function.
Can you be in such a state of decline that you can no longer benefit from resistance training? With the proper modifications and working with your healthcare professional, everyone can benefit from some sort of resistance training. The key is not to wait untill you get to that point. It is easier to maintain then regain.
So what is your next step? Just start something. Get moving, but include resistance training. Join a gym. Get a personal trainer. If you are older get a trainer experienced in working with seniors. If you are not sure where to start see my earlier blog entitled “Getting Started On Your Fitness Journey.”
At some time in your life you will have something happen which will get you thinking about your current level of health. The thing of it is, your health is directly affected by your level of fitness. The good news is new research clearly shows that people who are more active, no matter what their body composition (the amount of fat tissue in relationship to the amount of lean tissue in your body) are not only fitter but they also reduce their health risks more than non-active people with the same body composition.
Don’t get me wrong because carrying around extra weight still places extra stress on your body, but you don’t have to make weight loss your primary focus when deciding to make healthy changes in your life. Focusing on your weight loss may sabotage your fitness progress. Your primary focus should be make small changes that you know you can commit to until they become habits and then build off of that.
So what should you do:
- Start off with a small amount of easy exercise and build up the amount and difficulty over time. Five minutes a day of easy to moderate exercise is a great start.
- Gradually build up the amount of exercise and the difficulty level of the exercise.
- Monitor by logging or journaling the amount and difficulty of your exercise sessions to assure you are progressing at a rate that suits you.
- Avoid massive increases in exercise volume in short periods of time.
Questions to ask before you exercise for the first time:
- Has the doctor ever told you you have a heart condition?
- Do you feel pain in your chest during physical activity?
- Have you recently suffered from chest pain at rest?
- Do you suffer from dizziness?
- Have you ever lost consciousness?
- Do you suffer from joint problems that may be made worse by exercise?
- Are you currently taking drugs for high blood pressure, high cholesterol or a heart condition?
- Do you know any other reason why you should not participate in exercise?
Remember, your goal is to start out easy. Shoot for 30 minutes of exercise a week for 3 to 4 weeks. Work your way up to the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. By following these suggestions you will be on your way living a healthier and longer life.
Welcome to Pro-Move Fitness’s blog by Gary Wondrash. Hopefully I can enlighten you on health and fitness. It would be great if my blog can help people live a fuller life.
It would be awesome if I can help people over fifty years old, which I am one of, live a great life in their retirement years.
As Spock use to say, “Live long and with great health.” I know that is really not what he said, but it fits here.