Some muscle loss as you age can be a normal sign of ageing, however there are things you can do to prevent it. Studies suggest you could lose up to 40% of your muscle mass between your 20s and 80s. That’s why it’s important to learn how to prevent muscle loss as you age.
What is the reason for muscle loss as you age?
Sarcopenia is a condition where the loss of muscle mass and strength can cause a functional decline and loss of independence in older adults. Some causes of sarcopenia are a natural part of ageing, while others are preventable.
The natural causes of sarcopenia include:
- Decrease in your ability to convert protein to energy.
- Decline in the number of nerve cells that send messages from your brain to your muscles telling them to move.
- Chronic diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney disease, diabetes, cancer and HIV.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Insulin resistance.
Some of the preventable causes include:
- Physical inactivity.
- Poor diet.
- Low vitamin D intake.
We will touch on more tips for decreasing your risk of developing muscle loss as you age further in this article.
How can muscle loss as you age become an issue?
As you age, you may notice a decline in your protein intake which may cause protein malnutrition, decreased motor function and muscle atrophy. This is because of sarcopenia, which causes a reduction in bone mass. This is why many older Australians may have osteoporosis which places the bones at risk of breaking.
When you fall, you may be more prone to fractures if you have osteoporosis.
In the early stages of muscle loss, a person may sometimes feel weak and has difficulty carrying things. The condition can also be accompanied by changes in mobility, such as slower walking speeds, laziness, and reluctance to leave the house.
When the human body loses too much muscle, it will not only affect your posture but also cause difficulties, such as going up and down steps and lifting things.
Studies have found that every 10 years after the age of 30, the body’s muscle mass will start to decrease by up to 8% and then a person’s muscle loss rate accelerates as they reach the age of 60 to 70.
Sarcopenia is a very real and common problem among older Australians, not only affecting their physical activity but their energy levels too.
What are the symptoms of sarcopenia?
If you start to notice the following symptoms it is recommended that you consult your doctor.
- Often feel powerless and like your physical strength is declining.
- Slow walking speed.
- Severe immobility.
- Weight loss for no apparent reason.
- Repeated falls.
What is the cause of sarcopenia?
There are many reasons as to why you may be losing muscle such as genetics, which is beyond our control.
However, it may be down to your diet and lifestyle, which are completely within your control. Here are 3 tips you could introduce into your daily routine to help lower your risk of developing sarcopenia.
What are tips for preventing muscle loss as you age?
1. Appropriate increase in strength training.
Increasing strength training during exercise can effectively exercise the body’s muscles.
Muscle atrophy will not be delayed if the mass and strength of the muscle groups in all parts of the body are maintained.
Older adults can learn about strength and resistance training and incorporate these movements into their daily exercises.
The benefits of strength training and group exercises are that it not only strengthens bones but tones ligaments and tendons.
Health experts recommend that older Australians should introduce regular strengthening and balance activities into their day in order to reduce the risk of fractures and illness.
2. Adequate protein and calorie intake.
To prevent muscle loss and slow it down, make sure you consume enough protein and calories.
Protein and amino acid supplementation may have an important effect in slowing muscle wasting in patients with sarcopenia. High-quality protein sources include protein, fish, soy products, nuts, etc.
3. Appropriate nutritional supplements.
One of the leading causes of impaired body function is inadequate protein intake. Supplementation with proteins and amino acids may slow the rate of muscle wasting in patients with sarcopenia. High-quality protein sources include protein, fish, soy products, nuts, etc.
As you age, you may start to notice a decline your appetite, making it more difficult to ensure you are getting all your nutrients. That is why it is advised to take supplements such as fish oils which contain considerable amounts of Omega 3.
At Let’s Get Care, we offer a variety of services such as meal preparation. If you would like to learn more about how we can assist you in your daily life feel free to reach out to our expert team on 1300 497 442.