A Major Cause of Injury & Unhappiness as We Age – We Explain What It Is and How to Fix It!
Getting older can be tough; however, many of the hallmarks of aging which some consider inevitable definitely don’t have to be. Take losing strength, mobility, even quality of life and independence – at the root of this all-too-common experience for millions lies a factor that you have the power to change. Today we look at what you can do to prevent a common issue that can (and often does) affect everyone as they age, and the problems that it causes. We’re talking about muscle loss, or sarcopenia: the decline in skeletal muscle strength that comes with age.
What it Is: Sarcopenia is the official term for natural muscle loss that occurs as you get older. According to WebMD, you can expect to lose up to 5% of your muscle mass each decade after age 30! This can befall even active individuals, so don’t assume you’re safe just because you are fit.
How it Happens: Sarcopenia happens to some degree in all of us; however, those who are inactive see a greater degree of muscle mass loss. It can become a vicious cycle of muscle loss making activity difficult, and inactivity driving further muscle loss!
What it Does: Over time, losing a significant amount of muscle mass can result in weakness, a lack of mobility, balance problems, greater risk of falls (which can prove very dangerous), higher rate of fractures, and a reduced quality of life.
The Good News: You don’t have to take this news lying down – in fact, don’t lie down! Get up and get active, but specifically, focus on activities designed to work your skeletal muscles. Strength and resistance training regularly can help reduce muscle mass loss, and even reverse it.
Watch Your Diet, Too: It’s no secret that your diet matters. By ensuring that you eat plenty of protein, you’ll be feeding your muscles what they need. Talk with your doctor about your specific dietary needs.
Where to Start: Ideally, see a physical therapist to shore up any weaknesses and help prevent injury, especially if you’ve already experienced muscle mass loss. A physical therapist can assess any potential range-of-motion, strength, balance, or mobility challenges and help provide guidance on the best ways to address them. S/he can also offer expert advice on beginning a fitness regimen to regain muscle mass and how to do so safely with proper form!
Aging gracefully is more than just looking good, it’s about feeling good and being able to live the life you want! Body One Physical Therapy helps our clients return to enjoying their lives at every age – we’d love to help you, too. We’re locally-owned, with four locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis, South Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. Don’t settle for just getting older, get the life you want with Body One Physical Therapy – call today!