Sarcopenia. Never heard of it? Well, you’re not alone even though in 1999 the CDC listed sarcopenia as one of the top 5 health risks facing the U.S. population. So what exactly is this condition? The name comes from a Greek word meaning “poverty of flesh” and is the medical term for age related muscle loss. In essence it is the muscular equivalent of osteoporosis, which is loss of bone mass.
After about age 35 our muscles begin to shrink and are replaced by fat at a rate of about 1/2 lb. or more a year. There are many implications in this loss of muscle mass. For one, it leads to reduced muscle strength which can contribute to a decline in physical activity and lower metabolic rates. Physical inactivity is associated with bone loss and osteoporosis. It can also compromise your immune system. Muscle, or body protein, is not only essential for musculoskeletal function but plays a critical role in immune function. Nitrogen from muscle mass is used during illness to provide amino acids which allow the immune system to effectively protect your body from illness and disease.
Muscle loss has a direct impact on strength and can influence balance and bone density to a point that it contributes to falls which can have devastating effects. How often do you hear that someone fell, broke a large bone or their hip and never fully recovered or who subsequently developed something like pneumonia and died. This end result could be from the cascading effect of sarcopenia.
Much research is being conducted to help answer questions such as: Is muscle loss related to changes in hormones or nutrition? Do factors other than a sedentary lifestyle contribute to muscle loss? How does age itself cause changes in the muscles?
What is known is that incorporating exercise and strength training into your regular routine will reduce the impact of sarcopenia and can actually help reverse muscle loss, even in the very elderly and frail.
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Weight Gain With Age
Getting older can mean a lot of things. As we age, we become more comfortable with our ideals, personality, and goals. We grow into the person we want to be with age. Unfortunately, getting older also means gaining weight. As we age, our bodies lose muscle and gain fat. This is a fact that many women find difficult to accept.
At this time in life, you should be most comfortable in your own skin. Regrettably, so many women become obsessed with the numbers on the scale they find it difficult to accept who they’ve become in adulthood. This is not the way aging should work. Experiencing life, making important decisions, gaining years of wisdom; these things should lead to confidence. Why let the numbers on the scale ruin the progress you’ve made in self-assurance over the past few decades?
The first issue that needs to be addressed when it comes to weight gain caused by aging is acceptance. If you accept who you are and why you really want to lose weight then you can start taking steps towards achieving your goals. If you want to lose weight because you no longer weigh what you did in your twenties, think again. Make peace with the fact that your body is changing and choose to lose the weight for your health- not to affect the numbers on the scale.
Once you’ve decided you want to get in better shape to improve your overall health, the next step is to take a deep breath. Significant life changes don’t happen overnight. In the same way that you didn’t wake up one day 15 years older and 15 pounds heavier, you also will not wake up one day 15 pounds lighter.
Small steps and patience are the keys to weight loss.
If you attempt to alter your lifestyle too quickly or too drastically, you’ll set yourself up for failure. One of the top reasons dieting doesn’t work is because dieters try to deprive themselves of food in order to lose weight. If your body feels as though it’s being denied meals, it will hang on to body mass to ensure it doesn’t starve.
Instead of skipping meals or eating very small portions, simply cut back on calories and sodium. Eat more lean protein and fiber so you feel full without having to consume an entire plate of pasta. That way, you’re still eating and your body is satisfied but you’ve cut some of what you don’t need. A great way to be sure you’re getting the right nutrients without eating the wrong foods is to order a diet delivery service.
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