Day after day you look in the mirror and you seem to be wasting away. You’re not as strong as you used to be. You just turned 55 last week but you still believe you’re young at heart though you don’t feel that way. Blurry vision, impaired hearing, and constant joint pain are just a few of the other conditions that you already contend with and now this, but what is it? Out of all the scientific phenomena that occur within the human body during the aging process, there is a condition that few people understand and rarely are they ever prepared or even educated about–sarcopenia.
Sarcopenia and Aging
Sarcopenia is a disease that is associated with aging. It ranges in levels of severity from minor loss in muscle to loss of mass and strength so great that it can affect our ability to perform daily tasks that we once completed with ease. There are a few things that can lead to the progression of this disease:
As we age, our body’s ability to absorb protein greatly diminishes. Since muscle tissue is made of protein, we are unable to sustain the amount of lean muscle mass we once carried.
Hormone deficiency also tends to have an adverse effect on muscle tissue as we age. Though seen more predominantly in men, loss of testosterone in both sexes can have an adverse effect on lean muscle tissue as well. Though this disease is inevitable, there are ways to slow down its progression, ultimately minimizing the severity of its effect on the body.
Studies show that individuals who lead a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to suffer from sarcopenia than those who engage in resistance training. For years healthcare professionals have recommended 30 minutes of physical activity and exercise–most of which had been interpreted as cardiovascular exercise. Though exercise to strengthen the heart and circulatory system is important, it has very little effect on muscle building.
However, a comprehensive resistance-training program can be the first line of defense against sarcopenia in the elderly when started at a younger age and continued throughout the older years.
In fact, some studies even suggest that undertaking a resistance training program can help to reverse the effects of sarcopenia by helping individuals to develop minute amounts of muscle mass.
Resistance Training and Hormone Levels
Resistance training has also been shown to have an effect on hormone levels in the elderly population. Studies conducted comparing a group who underwent months of resistance training and those who did a brisk walk showed that resistance training boosts testosterone and growth hormone levels dramatically. Since these hormones are primarily responsible for lean muscle mass, it is rather easy to understand why resistance training is a vital weapon in a healthy aging individual’s arsenal!