Simple ways to preserve your muscles mass

Monday, September 28th, 2020 00:00 |
A lady displays her muscles. Photo/COURTESY

Christine Nderitu @dietfity1

Once we attain the age of 30, we start losing muscle mass, a phenomenon that increases as we age and can result in Sarcopenia.

Sarcopenia affects over 50 million people over 50 years globally. It is characterised by loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength, with affected individuals experiencing frailty, challenges in mobility, vulnerability to falls and fractures, osteoporosis, diabetes, middle‐age weight gain and loss of physical function making them lose their independence. It can also result to death.

Sarcopenia is among the leading causes of poor quality of life among the elderly. And while age is a primary risk factor, other factors include gender, low levels of physical activity and chronic conditions.

The condition is exacerbated by other age-related changes in hormones – testosterone, estrogen, growth hormone, thyroid hormone and insulin- which also lead to loss of muscle mass and strength. Poor nutrition also contributes to this.

As studies show, quality of food consumed by the senior citizens is often compromised.

They tend to eat fewer quantities, which are also low in nutrients such as proteins and vitamin D usually associated with loss of muscle strength.

To manage sarcopenia therefore, the elderly need to be provided with nutritious food that provides adequate protein, calcium, vitamins and antioxidants.

This includes providing high quality proteins that are evenly distributed across meals to maximize protein synthesis.

Most importantly, the elderly need to engage in physical activity. Resistance training and aerobic exercises have particularly been shown to improve muscle strength.

This should therefore be encouraged, considering the capacity of every individual, and providing professional support for those already limited.

In the face of rapid rural to urban migration, let us remember to check on our elderly loved ones more regularly, and wherever we can, facilitate them to access good nutrition and physical activity. 

Remember, if you are 30 and over, this is the way to preserve your muscle mass.

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