Sarcopenia is the muscle wasting (atrophy) associated with natural ageing. Common symptoms include a decrease in muscle mass, poor balance, feeling weak, loss of independence, impaired functionality and an inability to climb stairs. Activities of daily living such walking or standing up from a chair become more complicated.
It is inevitable that sarcopenia will occur at some stage in your lifetime, with those that are sedentary more likely to encounter an early onset compared to active individuals. From the age of 50 we lose 1-2% of muscle per year, with a greater decline after 70 years old. Other factors affecting the severity include changes to our hormones, motor neurons, protein requirements and exercise participation.
Currently there is minimal research demonstrating the effectiveness of pharmacological interventions with the management of sarcopenia. What we do know is that participating in the correct exercise can prevent progression. Benefits associated with progressive strength training include increasing muscle size, strength and tone. It also strengthens bones, preventing bone loss, frailty and reduces the likelihood of fractures.
You should complete at least two strength training sessions per week under the supervision of an exercise professional for the safest and most effective program. Your program should target major muscle groups. Balance training is also imperative and should be completed daily as weak muscles increase your likelihood of falls as a fall can cause long term disability and impaired quality of life.