Newsletter: Aging and our skeletal muscles.
Updated: May 18, 2022
This newsletter provides information on skeletal muscle changes with aging.
Is voluntary i.e. it is controlled consciously. There are >700 skeletal muscles in the human body. It enables us to move, maintain posture and control reflexes. The % of skeletal muscle in body weight varies though it can be up to: females=~23%, males= >40% (Nieman, 2003).
How does aging effect our skeletal muscles?
Decreased muscle mass (cross sectional area) and muscle fibre volume (type II fibres are most affected). Denervation of fibres may occur too.
Decreased peak muscle strength, power and endurance.
Decreased coordination of muscle contractions.
Decreased oxygen transport.
Increased body fat, decreased glucose tolerance and deterioration of lipid profile.
Sarcopenia is age-related decreases in muscle mass, strength and function. Decreased nerve signal transmission and muscle activation also occur. This negatively affects gait, balance and ADL’s (activities of daily living) which leads to an increased risk of falls, injury and dependence.
- Begins in the mid-late 30's.
- Physically inactive can lose 3-5% muscle mass per decade from age 30 years.
- Has multi-factorial causes.
- 30-50% decrease in muscle mass by 80 years of age (Akima et al. 2001) and this is worsened by unloading of muscle in inactive older people (Bamman et al. 1998; Breen et al. 2013).
Sarcopenia is a major contributor to frailty in the older population resulting in further immobility with a loss of independence, as well as increasing the risk of other chronic diseases and morbidity (Coin et al. 2013).
How to prevent or slow down sarcopenia?
- Adequate nutrition and especially protein intake.
- Adequate physical activity and exercise levels – resistance & aerobic training NB
- Stress reduction/management
- Chronic disease/inflammation prevention/management (e.g. healthy lifestyle, limit alcohol intake, no smoking etc).
Happy to help!
We have >20 years’ experience delivering strength training and exercise for Older Adults! Check out our website for information on 1-1 and group fitness interventions www.fitforlife.ie/. And, don’t hesitate to contact one of our exercise and rehabilitation specialists or physiotherapists at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01-2137915 if you have any questions!
Patricia O'Donnell GSR CAT BSc MSc
Fit For Life Ltd. 2022