What’s sarcopenia and the best way to keep away from it

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What is sarcopenia and how to avoid it

Muscle: The engine behind our metabolism

As we get older, many of us have a tendency to gain weight. But have you ever asked the question why? The simple reason is that aside from lifestyle factors – such as B. Decreasing activity levels – our muscle mass is actually decreasing. This is the key to unlocking the "secret" of weight loss.

Since muscles are one of the main drivers of our metabolism, the side effect of breaking down muscle is obviously a slower metabolism, which means weight gain over time. Research shows that this process begins as early as the age of 30 and that by the age of 50 a woman can lose up to 15 percent of all her body muscle. This age-related loss of muscle mass, strength and function is known as "sarcopenia". . People who are physically inactive can lose up to 3 to 5 percent of their muscle mass per decade after the age of 30. The average 40-year-old woman may have lost an incredible 10 percent of her muscle mass by now if she isn't careful.

What is the good news?

Thanks to recent discoveries about muscle mass and metabolism, gaining weight as you age may be easier to manage than we think. Once we understand what sarcopenia is, there is something we can do to counteract it. The key is exercising, especially when it comes to strength or strength training, while maintaining a regular intake of good quality protein.

Discovering this is the reason why I decided to go to a personal trainer three years ago (when I was 40 years old). Since then I have been going to the brilliant Kiwi Fit once a week (sometimes replenished by a second session). Since then, I've noticed that maintaining my weight has become a lot easier, along with following the motivational method of eating. This is a plan that focuses on regular, high quality protein intake and lower, better quality carbohydrates, a limited amount of fruits, and an abundance of fresh vegetables.

Exercise: which type is best?

Getting less active is your worst choice when it comes to fighting off sarcopenia. We need to be extra careful as we get older so that activity does not decrease, if at all possible. When this happens, our metabolism is guaranteed to slow down and our weight increases.

"There is no question that exercise is the most effective measure of muscle wasting, whether it is related to age or debilitating chronic or acute illness," said Nathan LeBrasseur, a doctor at the prestigious Minnesota Mayo Clinic. Exercise is recommended most days of the week, but at least three times a week to slow muscle loss and prevent sarcopenia.

It's also useful to know that after strength training, your metabolism actually stays elevated for a period of time thanks to a process called EPOC (commonly known as the "afterburn effect"). This refers to all of the oxygen (and energy in the form of calories) that your body uses after a workout to help your muscles recover. Incredibly, research suggests that this process can take anywhere from 12 hours to a few days, depending on the workout and who is doing it. Resistance training is particularly effective at increasing EPOC because it generally causes more physiological stress on the body than cardiovascular exercise. This explains why particularly intense strength exercises – like the squat, deadlift, and bench press – are much more effective at increasing EPOC than bicep curls or tricep extensions with light weights.

Where should I start?

First, consider lifting weights once a week. Then ideally build two to three times a week. If you now have a maximum of twice a week, that's fine (even once a week is better than nothing). It's important to use weights that are heavy enough to exhaust your muscles in 12 reps, but light enough to comfortably complete eight.

In addition to improved metabolism and fat burning, there are myriad reasons to lift weights and build strong muscles, including injury prevention, improved bone density, firmer feeling, improved memory (yes, you read that right), and reduced risk for type 2 diabetes. Seek advice from a personal trainer or a local gym to get you started, and don't be put off if you think you look bulky – that's a myth. The look is strong and fit and not bulky. If the gym isn't for you, consider Pilates, yoga, or aquafit, all of which use the weight of your own body as resistance.

Intake of protein

Protein is the most valuable food for repairing and building muscle fibers. Studies show that 12 percent of men and 24 percent of women aged 70 and over eat significantly less than the recommended 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of their body weight per day (this could partly explain their weight gain). For healthy adults, between 1 and 1.2 g / kg is a good daily protein intake goal. In patients with sarcopenia, the protein requirement is even higher at 1.2 to 1.5 g / kg per day. When motivated, all of our plans are designed to provide enough protein for satiety and optimal muscle retention (alongside an exercise program).

Which food works best?

When it comes to positively affecting sarcopenia, it's not just how much protein you eat, but what type of protein you consume. Not all proteins are created equal, and the types of protein you eat also seem to play a role in preventing muscle wasting. Dietary protein is made up of many types of amino acids. The body can produce some amino acids itself, but it has to get the rest from protein-rich foods. Of the total of 20 amino acids, certain are considered “essential” because these are the specific types that we cannot produce ourselves. The amino acid leucine has been shown to protect the body muscle. Leucine is an essential amino acid, which means our body cannot produce it, so we have to get it from food sources. Leucine is found in lean beef, lamb, poultry, fish, egg, milk, and dairy products (such as cheese). It is also found in soybeans and other beans, nuts, and seeds. Research also shows that eating protein before and after a workout helps increase it Muscle regeneration and promotes muscle synthesis. Make sure you have good quality protein with every meal (and don't forget about fish, especially oily fish like mackerel, tuna, and salmon) and in your snacks between meals (try protein bars, nuts, hummus, cheese or some Pot of edamame beans).

Busting myths!

There's a big myth that weight training can't build cardiovascular fitness. This is not true – if done right it will. Anything that increases your heart rate and breathing rate improves your cardiovascular fitness. If you do 10 to 20 loaded squats, you will soon find that you are breathing harder and your heart rate increases. If you do an interval workout and get on the cross trainer for 3 minutes in the middle of your strength training, that's even better!

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