These degenerative changes in muscle mass after the age of 50 occur due to changes in your hormone levels, changes in your ability to uptake protein as well as a (generally!) decrease in physical activity participation. These changes result in a decline in overall muscle mass and function.
Another factor contributing to Sarcopenia is poor nutritional intake. Generally, the nutritional contributors are an intake of excess consumption of processed carbohydrates with a corresponding drop in fats and proteins.
The effects of sarcopenia lead to a person experiencing a reduction in strength, stability, and joint function. As a result, the individual usually experiences a reduced ability to complete their general daily tasks. Their quality of living can be reduced through a corresponding loss of independence. Ironically then the individual then moves towards a more sedentary (inactive) lifestyle.
As inactivity can be a cause of the onset of sarcopenia as well as a result of sarcopenia, often people get caught in a negative health cycle where the decrease of muscle loss becomes very rapid.
It is because of this sedentary lifestyle that sarcopenia is often associated with the onset of many other chronic lifestyle diseases. These can include cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis (particularly in females), type 2 diabetes and obesity.
The onset of sarcopenia can have an influence on a person’s balance, their ability to walk and their joint functioning. Subsequently sarcopenia is also associated with an increased risk for an individual falling.
Due to all these risk factors identified above, it is vital to firstly prevent sarcopenia to begin with. If you have already been assessed with Sarcopenia then preventing the negative health effects arising from this degeneration of the muscle is of critical importance.
Sarcopenia prevention and management requires both dietary changes and an increase in physical activity. An exercise program should involve strength training, cardiovascular exercise, balance and mobility training. An exercise physiologist will ensure your program is tailored towards your unique needs; addressing any other medical, injuries or postural requirements.