Are You At Risk for Sarcopenia?
You know your cholesterol scores, your blood pressure and perhaps you take a variety of medications for conditions such as arthritis or osteoporosis. Yet many people over age 65 are unaware of what may be severely limiting their lives and overall health, one of the top major health risk factors as aging occurs is - loss of muscle mass, or sarcopenia.
Like other chronic conditions, sarcopenia is a serious degenerative affliction that affects older adults' function in many forms; from being able to push oneself up off an easy chair to contributing to falls and other injuries, says Dr. Balu Gadhe of CareMore Health Plan.
The major health risks as we age include falling, fractures and immobility Hip fractures due to falls in seniors, can have serious consequences including nursing home confinement and even death.. These risks can be greatly reduced with moderate resistance training regardless a person's age or overall health status, Dr. Gadhe says.
Dr. Gadhe says that muscle mass declines by about 15 percent per decade in individuals in their 60s and 70s and about 30 percent thereafter. "But this loss can be reversed, which is the good news for all seniors," he says.
It is becoming more of common knowledge among elderly adults that fitness is an important part of healthy aging.Â "Sedentary mature adults will lose muscle mass faster than those who exercise", says Dr. Gadhe.Â Research has shown that among older adults, strength training is more important than an aerobic fitness program.Â New guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine recommend that older adults begin with resistance training before they embark on activities such as swimming or even walking. "If resistance training were in a pill, it would be the best selling medicine of all time," adds Dr. Gadhe.
Because of the tremendous health benefits associated with exercise in the over-65 age group, CareMore has pioneered a resistance training program for members of its health plans in partnership with Nifty after Fifty, a senior-only fitness center. Â Â "In just six weeks, by working out with very light weights a few times per week, we can typically improve strength significantly in even the frailest patients," says Dr. Gadhe.
"Among seniors and their doctors especially, the term sarcopenia needs to be part of vocabulary when we talk about our health status as we grow older," he stresses.
For more information about CareMore's senior exercise programs and the locations of the CareMore/Nifty After Fifty facilities, please contact www.caremore.com .