Human muscle mass undergoes constant change and between the ages of 50-60 we see an annual muscle mass decrease of 1-2% and an annual strength loss of 1.5% (von Haehling, et al,. 2010) Further associated with this is Sarcopenia or age related muscle wasting/atrophy. It has been associated with reductions in muscular strength, power generating capabilities and the ability to tolerate repetitive lifting tasks. The associated health care costs associated with Sarcopenia is approximately $18.5 billion in the US in the year 2000 (Haff et al,. 2005)
There are functional consequences of age-related Sarcopenia and a decrease in muscle mass in the aging population and these include;
- Decreased strength which can lead to an increased difficulty with weight bearing tasks
- Decreased power which can increase the risk of falls and fractures
- Decreased muscular endurance leading to increased fatigability and exercises difficulty
- These above mentioned decreases can lead to an end result of decreased physical activity and increased disability, which may then further exacerbate the progression of the sarcopenia (Hunter et al,. 2004)
- A decline in physical function
- Diabetes and other disease states
- Increases in body fat
With aging, our muscular power generating capacities decrease faster than muscular strength. Muscular power has a strong association with functional performance and disability, and this loss of muscular power has been strongly linked to a decreased ability to undertake activities of daily life (De Vos et al,. 2008) However, according to Strasser, B., & Schobersberger (2011) maintaining a large muscle mass has been shown to reduce risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease such as;
- Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
- However resistance training may be an effective tool for modifying metabolic disorders
Here at Complete Health we want to help improve the quality of life of the older population by helping them to undertake a resistance clinical exercise program to help decrease the associated effects of losing muscle mass and a decrease in muscular strength and power. A study done by Verdijk, et al,. (2009) has shown that a 12 week resistance training program in healthy males aged approximately 72 years produced an increase in leg strength, an increase in leg muscle cross sectional area by up to 9% and an increase more specifically in type II (fast twitch) muscle cross sectional area by 75% per fiber!
There is no doubt that resistance training can increase muscle mass and functionality in the older population and with our team here at Complete Health creating specialised programs for each individual patient, taking into account each individuals goals and restrictions we want to help each of our patients reach their optimal potential and live a full and active life!
By Dr. Nicole Carrick (Osteopath)Leave a reply →