Sarcopenia is a condition that causes loss of muscle mass and strength due to aging. There are several factors that can contribute to this condition, but the most common is lack of physical exercise. As we approach middle age, there may be less opportunity to exercise, or it may become more difficult due to other health problems, a lack of energy or a decrease in motivation. It’s very important to implement a fitness plan that can not only prevent the effects of sarcopenia, but potentially reverse symptoms once they have begun to appear.
Fitness for Sarcopenia
Since sarcopenia involves loss of muscle mass, it becomes very important to help build back that loss by strengthening joints, muscles and tendons with different forms of exercise. If kept consistent, a proper routine will likely improve the condition and help to prevent side effects, such as fractures, sprains or even a complete loss of self-sufficiency. An optimal fitness program for middle-aged people looking to reverse or prevent the effects of sarcopenia should include a mixture of different types of exercise, with resistance training being one of the most important.
Resistance training is very important for helping to reverse the effects of sarcopenia because it takes advantage of a specific form of exercise to slowly and gradually build back muscle mass and range of motion. Normally performed with the help of some type of specialized machine, bands may be used to encourage pushing, bending and/or squeezing against some form of resistance. One may also engage in resistance training using one’s own body, or a firm structure such as a door frame to implement resistance training. The musculoskeletal system will become stronger as different joint angles are worked and muscle overload occurs. Keep in mind, this is a progressive process and should begin with very simple and low-stress techniques.
Other Important Exercises
There are a few additional types of exercise that are also important to incorporate into a routine if you have or wish to prevent sarcopenia. Flexibility and balance training can not only help to tone muscles, but improve the functionality of resistance training. Increased flexibility allows the joints and muscles a larger range of motion, and balance training can counteract some of the problems one may be faced with if symptoms of sarcopenia become an issue. Cardiovascular exercise has many benefits as well. Not only does cardio help with strengthening the larger muscles of the body, but helps to improve heart and lung functionality as well (working to increase overall health and well-being).
A well-rounded fitness plan addresses not only exercise, but dietary needs as well. As we age, our bodies begin to produce less and less of the necessary vitamins and minerals, and our eating habits may be leaving out essentials as well. A lack of protein and a hormonal imbalance may play a role in the development of sarcopenia. Be sure to adopt an eating plan that includes healthy substances, as well as avoids dangerous chemicals, toxins, sugars and fats.