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Sarcopenia: use it or lose it

What is it?

Sarcopenia is an age related musculoskeletal disease characterised by progressive loss of muscle mass and strength.

Between 11-50% of males and females over the age of 80 experience sarcopenia.

The exact causes of progressive sarcopenia are not known. However it is clear that is is associated with the natural process of aging.

What may be potential causes for Sarcopenia?

Potential contributing factors include:

  • Inactivity

  • Inadequate protein intake

  • Metabolic disease (insulin resistance)

  • Increase systemic inflammation

  • Hormone changes

  • Smoking

What are the risks?

Having reduced strength poses many impacts. These may include:

  • Increase risk of falls

  • Increase risk of fracture

  • Increase risk of hospitalisation

  • Increase risk of mortality

  • Reduced quality of life

  • Difficulty performing activities of daily living

What is the best treatment?

Fortunately there is robust evidence for exercise and nutrition as a treatment modality for sarcopenia.

1. Engage in high-intensity resistance training program (i.e. 80% 1RM) at least 2x/week. This basically means training at high intensity lifting weights that are heavy.

2. Consume 1.0 - 1.2 g/kg (body weight) of protein per day. High protein foods include:

  • lean meats – beef, lamb, veal, pork, kangaroo.

  • poultry – chicken, turkey, duck, emu, goose, bush birds.

  • fish and seafood – fish, prawns, crab, lobster, mussels, oysters, scallops, clams.

  • eggs.

  • dairy products – milk, yoghurt (especially Greek yoghurt), cheese (especially cottage cheese)

What is better than the best treatment?

Prevention... of course.

The best treatment is to prevent sarcopenia from occurring!

Visit the team from Marna Physio and get assessed to get moving! We provide individualised exercise programs for all levels of experience and fitness!

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