When Skinny Fat Is A Sign: What You Need To Know About Sarcopenia
As we begin to experience the signs of aging, doesn’t it seem like there’s a snowball effect to it? You suffer an illness that takes away your mobility for a little while, then you don’t get back into exercise. Soon, your joints suffer and then one winter it’s a tumble on the ice and BAM! Hip replacement city. Yes, the snowball effect is hard to ignore.
Sarcopenia is a natural part of aging, but one that can also hasten the process. It can start the snowball rolling. But what is it, exactly? And is there any way to stop it, or slow it?
Sarcopenia is, at the bottom of it all, muscle loss that’s associated with aging. It’s a fact of life that as we age, we lose muscle mass. This is unfortunately how it goes as mere mortals, and it has to do with the build-up and tear-down processes that your muscles naturally go through. (1)
It’s likely you’re familiar with metabolism… your body’s ability to assimilate food into fuel. Sarcopenia touches on other “isms”: anabolism and catabolism. These ‘isms’ are your body’s processes for muscle build-up and tear-down, and they get wonky as we age. Anabolism, as you might expect if you’ve heard of anabolic steroids, is the process of build-up. Catabolism, like a cataclysmic event, is the break-down. (2)
What exactly happens with Sarcopenia? It is oversimplifying things to blame it solely on the body’s ability to break down muscle overriding its ability to build muscle. As we age, a host of factors come into play, including hormone changes and revised dietary needs. Even our propensity to be more sedentary can start that snowball effect.
Bodies in motion, do tend to stay in motion and bodies at rest… well, you know how the saying goes.
Eat as well as you possibly can. Consume only the best sources of natural protein, such as those found in wild salmon, quinoa, and raw nuts. Look for clean sources of protein, no fatty, salty meats. Sorry, salami. Not today. (4)
Eat lots of nutritious, whole fruits and veggies; think of giving your body only things it can really use. Consume natural foods it can glean lots of good stuff from. Always remember: as we age, we change. Our hormone levels, and our ability to assimilate and hold vitamins and minerals too. You can’t necessarily know what is changing and where. But you can assist your body as it ages by doing your best to get the good stuff in, and keep the bad stuff out.
Supplements are a great idea too. As we age, our bodies don’t utilize vitamins and minerals as they once did. So it’s a great idea to lend a helping hand with an extra boost of Vitamin D, vitamin k2 and HMB. These things will help to not only maintain the muscle you do have but help you build it too.
Women, particularly around middle age and menopause, tend to struggle with weight. We often go to great lengths to be thin, but our efforts may be doing more harm than good. With that said, keeping your body moving is absolutely vital for aging gracefully. So Rule #1 when exercising is to pick something you’ll actually do. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it. Your NordicTrack knows what I’m saying. Weightlifting and yoga are two great options for maintaining muscle mass and improving balance, two things that become crucial as we age. The aftermath of slipping on the ice is a completely different ballgame when your body is in good condition. The stronger your muscles and the healthier your joints, the more agile your whole self is.
No, aging isn’t the most comfortable thing. But it can be a very valuable experience, and certainly, your participation is key. Approach it with an informed perspective, and you’ll really be giving Father Time a run for his money, no matter what snowball fight he starts with you.