What is sarcopenia and how you can prevent it.


Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass. Everyone is at risk of loosing muscle with age but your lifestyle can be a mitigating factor. 


Even if you’re generally healthy, there are probably ways that you tweak your self-care practices to reduce your health risks and prevent muscle loss. Let’s start with a review the four risk factors.


Four risk factors for sarcopenia


1/ Sedentary lifestyle


If you don’t use a wellness tracker, use the benchmarks for steps and national guidelines for physical activity to evaluate whether or not you’re meeting the minimum amount of daily movement and exercise. 


2/ Unbalanced diet


If you’ve made changes to your diet without thinking about how to replace essential nutrients,  you may have nutritional deficiencies. If you’re eliminated food groups, use a nutrition app or consult a dietitian to assess your diet to ensure it is balanced and healthy.


3/ Inflammation


If you have an injury, illness or a chronic disease such as diabetes, your body has likely triggered an inflammatory response. An inflammatory response helps to repair and heal your body but it also suppresses your immune system to facilitate the process. It’s fine for a short period of time but a sustained response increases your risk for infections. Schedule an annual physical with your primary care physician especially if you’re feeling weak.


4/ Severe stress


Medical treatments and chronic diseases of the heart, liver and kidney stress your body. If you’re undergoing medical treatment, talk with your doctor about how to minimize the negative side effects of treatment so that you feel well enough to move and enjoy life.


Three ways to prevent sarcopenia


1/ Maintain an active lifestyle


Do a mix of cardio, strength and flexibility training to help preserve good muscle and memory function. Beyond that play and have fun. Longevity researchers have discovered the added benefits of doing a wide range of activities to improve overall health and wellbeing.


2/ Eat a balanced diet


Eat a wide variety of plant based foods to ensure that you’re consuming all essential nutrients including calcium, protein and omega 3 fatty acids. As part of your self-care assessment, evaluate your caloric intake to ensure you’re consuming enough calories to support essential bodily function and your level of activity. Develop simple rules to keep your diet on track especially as you age. 


3/ Consult your doctor about supplements


If you’re at high risk of sarcopenia and struggling to eat a balanced diet, talk with a doctor about how to supplement your diet. Whey protein and supplements can help to preserve muscle mass. Preserving muscle mass may give you the energy needed to live more actively.


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