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Muscle loss. Why is it so bad and how to avoid it?

It is generally understood that as our bodies age, muscle mass decreases. Subsequently, our capacity to be physically powerful is affected, but whilst this is thought to be an age-related issue, it is something that should be dealt with before we hit an elderly stage of our lives. At an age as young as 35, the process known as sarcopenia may begin to deplete muscle mass at a rate of approximately 1-2% per year on average. As time progresses, this process accelerates, with individuals aged 60 and upwards reporting muscle mass decreases at a whopping 3% each year.

What causes muscle loss?

The driving force behind most cases of muscle loss is a lack of strength training. People who do not regularly lift weights or perform any kind of resistance training report 2 to 3 kilograms of muscle mass loss every ten years. A lack of muscle mass does not always correlate with weight loss, however, as most individuals who experience a loss of muscle mass, replace it with fat.

Why is muscle loss bad?

A lack of muscle mass forces the remaining muscles to be overworked and therefore weaken over time. To walk, clean, dress oneself, balance and other necessary daily tasks can become extremely difficult and one’s independent living may be at risk. Your immunity may become compromised, making recovery from illness more difficult and attracting infections easier.

Older people are prone to falling and injuring themselves badly. Recovery time is often long and intense, and sometimes never quite fully achieved. This is directly linked to sarcopenia and the effects it has on balancing and standing still. Older adults who lead active and athletic lifestyles have been observed to fall less often and if so, are injured much less severely.

Muscle loss not only impacts our musculoskeletal systems but also impacts us on a cellular level. Each animal cell in our body contains a nucleus, which is controlled by multiple mitochondria. Mitochondria produce energy during respiration and are responsible for all that occurs in our cells. Muscle loss forces mitochondria to decrease in the quantity and quality of their function. Nerve cells can also be impacted negatively by this, with their electrical-impulse-carrying fibres weakening as a result.

How can I prevent excessive muscle loss?

Strength training can greatly decrease the effects of ageing on your muscles and can hinder the effects of sarcopenia. If the effects of this are already being felt, strength and power training can restore and improve the quality of your muscles. Exercise that promotes cardiovascular function has been proven to prevent or lessen the intensity of conditions such as cardiovascular disease. Movement in general promotes a holistically healthier lifestyle by facilitating daily activities, improving mental health by releasing endorphins and maintaining a controlled weight.

Muscle strength and muscle mass can affect your overall health. Make sure to stay active and to take care of your overall health through routine check-ups, and regular screenings. If you would like information about our health screening, contact us today on +356 21221355, +356 9985 2404 or send an email on

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