What You Need to Know about Cellular Health to Prevent Muscle Aging
Posted on Mon, 28 Jan 2019  Comments: 1
Key regulators of cellular health
Published with permission from Amazentis SA
By Eileen Harrison Thu, 14 Feb 2019
KGK MUSCLE MASS STUDY - Comments from a Participant!
Ever since I was accepted last December, 2018 for the KGK Science, London, Ontario study regarding the loss of muscle mass or density, with age, I have done a lot of research on this issue, not only for myself, but for older friends and family. I am particularly interested in how this affects women after menopause. The staff at KGK are amazing to work with, as was the Surgeon who did the muscle biopsy!
I’ve learned that people who are physically inactive can lose between 3 – 5 % of their muscle mass, each decade after the age of 30. This is apparently caused by age-related sarcopenia. This is scary, as that means people lose their strength, endurance and mobility over time. Even our posture, gait and joints are affected! Our muscles provide the force and strength to move our bodies, which is affected by the changes in our muscles and joints. This can result in weakness and a slowing down in our movement, especially as the vertebrae in our spines lose fluid and become thinner.
Because our bones in our arms and legs can become more brittle, due to mineral loss and can break more easily, Joints become stiffer and less flexible as the fluid in the joints decreases. Hip and knee joints may begin to lose cartilage (degenerative changes). Finger joints lose cartilage and the bones thicken slightly, which is common in women. Our lean body mass decreases with age and inactivity too. This decrease is partly caused by a loss of muscle tissue known as atrophy. Muscle changes can begin in the 20s in men, and in the 40s in women. Muscles are less toned and less able to contract because of changes in the muscle tissue and normal change in the nervous system. Muscles may become rigid with age and may lose tone, even with regular exercise.
EFFECTS OF CHANGES
Breakdown of the joints may lead to inflammation, pain, stiffness, and deformity. Joint changes can affect almost all older people. These changes range from minor stiffness to severe arthritis or debilitating osteoporosis. The posture may become more stooped (bent). Movement slows down and may become limited. Walking may become unsteady, and there is less arm swinging. Older people get tired more easily and have less energy.
The risk of injury increases because of unsteady gait changes, instability, and of course, loss of balance, which leads to falls. People who are unable to move on their own, or who do not stretch their muscles with exercise, may get muscle contractures. I cannot imagine how this could make one feel!
I know that exercise and even just daily walking are the best ways to slow down or even prevent problems with the muscles, joints, and bones. Doing this can help us maintain strength, balance, and flexibility. Regular exercise will help our bones stay strong! I just need to kick my New Year’s resolution into gear so that I can follow through with getting out there and doing this at the gym - tomorrow!!
I also know, as most of us do, that eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of calcium is especially important for women! We need to be particularly careful to get enough calcium and vitamin D as we age. It is recommended that postmenopausal women, and men over age 70, should get at least 1,200 mg of calcium per day and should have 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily. I am trying to do this for myself this year too. I am making a concerted effort towards eating more healthily. After learning about how being sedentary can completely adversely affect everything about our lives as we get older, I am now determined not to allow these things to happen to me! Because I work in healthcare, and because I know that getting involved in medical research such as KGK offers, this can lead to the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives! I completely believe in this study, and would recommend anyone moving toward their senior years to consider participating in this very worthwhile and exciting study!