One of the greatest threats to men and women over the age of 50, is not what you may think; it is not a heart attack or stroke or even cancer. It is something that we often don’t think about, nor do we give it the attention that it deserves, and that is because it is something that begins to happen without your noticing.
Year after year, people over the age of 50 begin to lose muscle strength. Approximately 3- 5% of your muscle strength is lost each decade after the age of 50, with that rate increasing rapidly after the age of 70.
Sarcopenia is the degenerative loss of muscle mass and is the leading cause of frailty which can lead to falls and bring on a host of other ailments, if not guarded against. Researchers believe that there are some underlying causes, and they include:
- With age, there are lower concentrations of hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, and growth hormones.
- Difficulty turning protein into energy for muscle use.
- Brain cells that send messages to muscle for movement begin to slow down with age.
- Often with age, our appetites change and can lead to calorie or protein deficits.
The most fabulous way to guard against this ailment is exercise and other physical activity. You must understand, what you don’t use you lose, it’s time to get off the couch, and pick up a healthy habit, such as walking, stretching, yoga, gardening, biking, or whatever gets you moving.
When we exercise, we cause the muscles fibers to be triggered, and those muscles that are triggered to grow stronger. Another way to maintain your strength is by using small weights such as 3 and 5 pounds to strengthen arms and legs. Find a way to keep your strength up.
This is essential to maintaining your way of life, even if this way includes having enough strength to walk to the kitchen for a bowl of ice cream.