As we age, our bodies undergo significant changes. Hormone production decreases, energy and focus begin to fade, and problems like weight gain and trouble sleeping become commonplace. With these changes comes an higher risk for acute and chronic illnesses, some of which can be life-altering.
Sarcopenia - a loss of muscle mass and function - isn’t often talked about, but it’s a common and important change that comes with age. Because it’s closely connected to hormonal changes, it’s often seen in postmenopausal women. Beginning around age 40, the average adult loses 3-8% of muscle mass per decade, with up to 50% of muscle mass disappearing by age 80!
Sarcopenia is associated with an increased risk for chronic disease, fatigue, falls, and mortality. Contributing factors include hormonal changes, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, inflammation, and inadequate nutrient intake. Left untreated, it can have detrimental effects on every aspect of life as we age. But it doesn’t have to be an inevitability!
With the right tools, you can make small changes that help to protect your greatest investment - yourself!
1. Optimize Your Hormones
Sex hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone play an important role in the body’s ability to build and maintain muscle mass. As the production of these hormones declines with age, our bodies just aren't as good at building and preserving muscle as they were in our 20s.
With bio-identical hormone replacement therapy you can protect your muscle mass while also addressing symptoms such as fatigue, hot flashes, weight gain, mood swings, trouble sleeping, and low libido. With a customized treatment plan, your body will once again have the tools it needs to stay strong and functional.
2. Fight Inflammation
Inflammation begins as an immune response, usually triggered by an injury or illness. When left unchecked, chronic inflammation can disrupt the body’s healing process, which can lead to muscle loss.
At Vitality, we always search for the root cause of chronic inflammation and illness. Our providers work with you to prevent and treat inflammation, which leads to better overall quality of life. With so many aspects that affect inflammation, such as gut health, environment, lifestyle, medical history, and genetic risk factors, it’s important to have expert healthcare providers in your corner.
3. Move Your Body
Mental health benefits aside, everyone knows that exercise is good for the body. Weight-bearing exercises can build muscle tone and protect against both sarcopenia and osteoporosis. Resistance training with weights or bands is the obvious way to build muscle mass and strength, and if you enjoy it, it’s a great stress-buster too! But pumping iron isn’t the only way to achieve results.
Walking is one of the easiest and most effective ways to build strength and protect your body from the effects of aging. Start with a goal you know you can reach, and make it a part of your daily routine - 30 minutes of brisk walking per day is a great goal. Listen to an audiobook or podcast, invite a friend, or just enjoy the sounds of nature (or the treadmill) while knowing you’re investing in your long-term health!
4. Feed Your Muscles
A good diet can also help protect from muscle loss - “good” meaning a balance of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. Protein is especially important. It is made up of amino acids, which are used to repair and grow new muscle fibers.
It’s easy to underestimate how much protein your body needs on a daily basis, and we tend to eat less of it as we get older. Optimal intake is around 1-1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. So, for a 145-pound person, that’s around 64 grams of protein per day.
Pay attention to your meals and determine whether you’re getting enough. If not, focus on including some protein every time you eat - not just at meals, but with snacks, too. By giving your body the right ingredients, you know you’re doing everything you can to protect your muscle mass.
5. Monitor with Fit3D
If you’re curious about your current lean muscle mass ratio, or if you’re looking for a way to track progress over time, call our Mansfield office to set up a self-guided Fit3D scan and schedule an appointment with a nurse practitioner to discuss your results and create a customized plan to reach your goals.
The Fit3D Pro Scanner takes over 200 measurements in just moments to provide a comprehensive picture of your physical health, from posture to body composition and beyond. Overlaying results from multiple scans allows you to track progress and observe trends.
Whether you’re thinking about your future or you’re already noticing a loss in muscle mass or function, Vitality can help. We’d be happy to schedule a discovery call with you. During this call, we can discuss your symptoms in more detail and come up with a plan tailored specifically for you.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this blog is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional.