Preventing Sarcopenia: recovering energy and strength after 40 years

Adults lose 24% of their muscle mass between 40 and 70 years, affecting the quality of life. Diet and exercise are the keys to fighting sarcopenia.

They say that “the years do not pass in vain” and that we are going to grow old someday. Nevertheless, we never imagine how soon we will begin to suffer the loss of energy, strength, and resistance in our body. And the main thing, what can we do to slow down muscle loss?

After 30 years the development of muscles stops and begins to gradually decrease. The loss of body mass begins between 20 and 30 years in sedentary people. We do not notice it because we are accustomed to only consider body weight, but muscle mass and fat change their proportions even though the weight remains stable.

Marilyn McGuire is close to 50 years old and has trained with aerobic exercise and weights for 25 years. After the menopause, she began to notice that her strength was less and the resistance she had also, she no longer felt like going to the gym and the amount of weight she used in her exercises was less and less. The diagnosis was sarcopenia when seeing a doctor.

What is sarcopenia

Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass with aging, therefore strength and exercise tolerance, with it comes the decrease of bone mass and the increase in fat mass.

How to detect that you are losing more muscle? There are three factors to consider:

Muscle mass: it is calculated by measuring the circumference of the calf that should not be less than 31 centimeters, otherwise it is a sign of loss of muscular mass.

Muscular strength: it is measured with a dynamometer. Women should achieve a minimum tension of 20 kilograms, while men a minimum of 30 kilograms. This can also be perceived in the amount of force that is printed on a hand greeting that, based on the complexion must be strong.

Physical performance: this is calculated when we go to the doctor and takes our heart rate after a series of steps.

But, if you think you’re too young to worry, here are some important facts. On average, adults lose 24% of their muscle mass between 40 and 70 years of age, the loss accelerates to 15% per decade, from 70 years of age.

Women are the most affected because between 40 and 49 years, the loss is up to 34%, while for men it is about 24%. After 60, women lose up to 59% of their body mass and men 47%.

Signs and risks

Loss of muscle mass can be noted in the lack of energy, the lower strength and flexibility of muscles, lack of balance and coordination, slower walking or an increase in the likelihood of falls and fractures, as well as the risk of disease and infection increases, and the ability to recover from surgery decreases.

But how does it affect the quality of life? Gradual loss begins by affecting the person’s immunity, but in very extreme cases it could lead to death.

– When you lose 10% of lean body mass, you become more prone to infections.

– When it loses 20% it presents the weakness, the thinning of the skin, reduces the reduction of the capacity of cure.

– 30% loss causes an intense weakness to sit, no wound healing, increased risk of pneumonia and mortality risks up to 50%.

– A person who has lost 40% of his body mass can die of pneumonia.

Prevention at any age

The good news is that prevention can start at any age. To prevent sarcopenia it is necessary to include nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium, proteins and other nutrients in the diet, in addition to performing proper exercising, for which the doctor must be consulted.

It is very common that with age decrease the efficiency with which nutrients are processed, lower the appetite and an increase in digestive problems. The best treatment for sarcopenia is proper consumption of:

Protein

It helps the body to build and maintain muscle mass. Individuals need 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of their body weight.

Vitamin D

It helps the body maintain normal muscle function and increases calcium absorption for strong bones. It is found naturally in fatty fish, liver oil, and cod, and is activated when ultraviolet light B (UVB) touches the skin.

HMB

It is a metabolic amino acid, Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate that exists naturally in muscle cells. Is an active metabolite of the amino acid leucine, which helps the production of proteins. In minimal quantities, it is also found in avocado, grapefruit, and fish.

Read also

Losing weight after 40: 3 major problems and how to overcome them – WeightOfTheNation

4 Ways Your Workout Should Change After 40 – Mercola Peak Fitness

How to Build Muscle When You’re Over 40 – Men’s Fitness

Exercise Improves Cholesterol Levels Even Without Weight Loss

Maintaining adequate levels cholesterol is important for the health of persons and prevent cardiovascular events. Exercise is essential to keep in shape, lose kilos and lower the level of bad cholesterol.

As reported in ‘The New England Journal of Medicine’ a group of doctors from Duke University (UK) recently concluded that heavy exercise has a positive effect in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol (the called LDL cholesterol or low density lipoproteins) [source].

Even Without Weight Loss

This paper explains that, in the case of people who do little exercise (the equivalent of running 20 miles a week) the benefits of the activity are independent of the intensity with which it is done (might as well go the distance in 10 minutes or 20). In any case, some exercise is better than nothing. However,it is clear that more intense exercise has more positive advantages for lowering cholesterol.

Cholesterol adheres to the surface of some proteins to circulate in human blood and nourish the tissue. The new particles are created from the union of cholesterol and protein, are called lipoproteins. In the human body when there is excess lipoproteins, in other words when your cholesterol levels are not normal, there is an increased risk of coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis [reference].

The study explains that cholesterol ‘moves’ through the blood through small and dense LDL particles as well as larger LDL particles. The small and dense ones are more dangerous than the larger particles. The findings of this study show that exercise increases the number and size of the particles ‘transport’ cholesterol through the blood fluid; so that, added “any exercise is better than nothing”.

Anything is Better than Nothing

In fact, among the 84 sedentary and overweight subjects, those who did no physical activity showed a worsening in their cholesterol levels as compared with to those that practiced sport. All those that were doing some kind of activity, regardless of the amount or intensity, had more advantages than passive subjects. They were divided into three groups according to the levels of exercise practiced: plenty of exercise (32 Km) / high intensity, moderate exercise (19.2 Km) / high intensity or little exercise (19.2 Km) performed with moderate / low intensity.

According to the director of the study, Dr. William Kraus, the guidelines recently issued by various US about government agencies (such as the ‘Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’ and their own ‘National Academy of Science’) “are based on opinions and consensus, rather than the actual results of these clinical studies. “

Due to the effects of exercise on the size of said particles, Kraus warns that inactivity lags behind smoking as a major cardiovascular risk factor. It therefore recommends that doctors put the emphasis not so much that patients lose weight and do exercise to reduce their risk.

This is the first work that stands to be gained benefits of exercise in reducing cholesterol and fats is achieved regardless of whether or not losing weight. Physical activity achieves a gradual response in a number of variables that favor the reduction of lipids. It is also important to follow a healthy diet plan in addition to exercising to manage cholesterol. To learn more about how to plan a working low cholesterol diet, I recommend you to read this.

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