Fit and Fabulous Over 40


Did You Know You Have Sarcopenia?

Did You Know You Have Sarcopenia?
July 21
14:10 2017

Ladies, from the moment you begin to develop in your mother’s womb, you begin to develop muscles. After you are born and through adolescence and early adulthood, those muscles continue to grow and develop. You gain strength and body mass, hopefully in all the right places.

In your twenties, you felt like you could do and conquer anything. Not only did you feel strong enough to lift heavy objects, but you also had stamina that kept you going and active for hours. You could spend all day at the beach with your friends or most of the day at the park chasing your kids. Picking up your kids was nothing. You could easily hoist them up onto to help and tote them through the stores for hours.

Generally, sometime in your thirties to early forties, you find that you seem to be losing some muscle tone, strength and endurance. The laundry basket begins to feel heavier, and you don’t have the same grip strength to open those jars of olives or pickles. Instead of carrying 4 large bags of groceries from the car to the house, you find it easier to only carry 2 or 3. The bag of potting soil that you use to replant your house plants or veggie garden is heavier than it used to be. Worse yet, do your grandkids seem heavier than your own kids did? Did you wonder why everything seemed heavier, harder and you tired quicker?

Believe it or not, this is natural and it has a name – age-related sarcopenia or sarcopenia with age.

According to one medical dictionary:



Etymology: Gk, sarx, flesh, penia, poverty

a loss of skeletal muscle mass that may accompany aging. Studies indicate that the loss of skeletal muscle for the average normally healthy person amounts to about 20% between about 30 and 70 years of age. The loss may accelerate as aging progresses. The muscle is replaced by fat, usually in a subtle way that is not noticed by the individual, as by padding areas of muscle loss with extra fat. Muscle-strengthening and -building exercises can prevent or reverse much of this problem.”

So how much muscle mass do you lose as you reach that time in your life? Frighteningly, you can lose as much as 3% to 5% of your total muscle mass every 10-years after the age of 30. That means by the time you reach age 60, you could have lost as much as 9% to 15% of the muscle mass you had at your peak. By the time you reach age 65 to 75, the rate of muscle mass loss accelerates, which is why most older people look so frail and fragile.

The only thing you can do to try to prevent the process is to stay active and exercise regularly. Even then, the sarcopenia cannot be totally stopped. Regular exercise may slow the process, but no matter what you do, the normal aging process will continue and you will still lose muscle mass, strength and endurance, but not as quickly.

Have you ever wondered why so many athletes retire sometime during their 30s and early 40s? They may look fit and still have many of the skills that made them great athletes, but sarcopenia takes over, even for them. No matter how much they exercise and work out, naturally aging will still slowly replace some of their muscle with fat.

The key is to still stay as active as possible and never stop exercising. If you snooze, you lose, more than you may realize.

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