Muscle Loss As You Age
What is Sarcopenia?
From the time you are born to around the time you turn 30, your muscles grow larger and stronger. But at some point in your 30s, you start to lose muscle mass and function. The cause is sarcopenia with aging. Physically inactive people can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you’ll still have some muscle loss.
There’s no test or specific level of muscle mass that will diagnose sarcopenia; however, any loss of muscle matters because it lessens strength and mobility and can cause loss of stamina, all of which will interfere with physical activity. Reduced activity further shrinks muscle mass.
Sarcopenia typically happens faster around age 75, but it may also speed up as early as 65 or as late as 80. It’s a factor in frailty and the likelihood of falls and fractures in older adults.
Treatment for Sarcopenia
The primary treatment for sarcopenia is exercise, specifically resistance training or strength training. These activities use weights or resistance band exercises to increase muscle strength and endurance as well as benefiting your neuromuscular system and hormones. The proper intensity and frequency of resistance exercise is important for getting the most benefit with the least risk of injury. You should work with an experienced physical therapist or trainer to develop an exercise plan.