Sarcopenia and working to maintain your muscles as you age

Posted By on June 29, 2014

agingmenimageAging sneaks up on most of us and before you know it your muscles have atrophied and often joints become a painful reminder that we may have abused them in our youth. Thankfully, I’m still functioning on all cylinders even if I’m regularly reminded that I can’t (and shouldn’t) try to physically work as I did in my 30’s and 40’s. Inevitably we’ll all suffer from “sarcopenia” – but maybe we can slow it down? (Did you know that we achieve peak muscle mass in our early 40’s? Hmm?)

Laura Landro’s Informed Patient column in the WSJ had a few tips on “How to Keep Your Muscles Strong as You Age” and I’ll include cheat sheet below:

  • Until treatment/drugs that inhibits a protein call myostatin are approved (hopefully soon), remain active and balance diet with exercise.
  • Step up basic household chores and add purposeful walking to your daily routine
  • Ask your doctor about losartan (Cozaar) if you are being treated for high blood pressure. John Hopkins researchers are seeing promising results in the rate of muscle decline.
  • As long as you are watching your diet and exercising, eat more “lean” protein
  • Talk to your doctor about adding a vitamin D supplement IF LOW (shown to increase strength and reduced falls)
  • Don’t be sedentary. Include aerobic, strength, flexibility and balance training exercise.
  • Build up a reserve of muscle tone and overall “health reserves” to compress the end of life frailty that inevitably will come to those who live a long life.


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