By Cierra Bloom, ATC, LAT, MS, CES
Sarcopenia - the medical term for muscle loss, is an age-associated muscle degeneration condition that becomes common in individuals over the age of 50, and has been shown to be predictive of outcomes in multiple diseases. Muscle mass decreases 1–2% per year after the 5th decade of life, and muscle strength begins to diminish in the 3rd or 4th decade, declining 1.5% per year in the 6th decade and 3% per year after that. As a result, muscle strength in the elderly may be reduced by 20–50%. But remember - these numbers are in general for those that don’t regularly exercise.
There are multiple causes of sarcopenia that happen naturally as we age.
Our muscles breakdown more protein than they produce - and protein is what repairs/rebuilds our muscles.
Our muscle cells become less equipped to regenerate and repair themselves the way they should due to decreased or dysfunctional cells when exposed to inflammation and oxidative stresses.
We start to lose motor programming of our muscles, due to decreased proprioception. We have nerve endings that stem from the spinal cord into our muscles and tendons to proprioceptors called muscle spindles and golgi tendon organs. Proprioception is the body’s ability to sense its location, movements, and actions in space. There are 3 parts of proprioception known as the ABCs.
A - Agility is the capacity to control the direction of the body or body part during rapid movements.
B - Balance is the ability to maintain equilibrium by keeping the line of gravity of the body within the body's base of support.
C - Coordination is the smoothness of an activity. This is produced by a combination of muscles acting together with appropriate intensity and timing.
Aerobic and resistance training both provide benefits to health and muscle function - but resistance training especially helps build muscle mass and strength to combat muscle degeneration. A very important component of this is Corrective Exercise. Corrective Exercise is used to help assess and determine the root cause of muscle imbalances and faulty movement patterns that lead to these issues with posture, balance, and total body coordination. Movement is a reality of everyday life regardless of whether you work in an office building or are a professional athlete. Studies show proper Corrective Exercise intervention can improve neuromuscular control, which can reduce risk of future injuries, just as we talked about earlier. By properly aligning the body, corrective exercises help it to handle the load that everyday movement puts on it and helps reduce the risk of future injury. These strategies allow for better movement and gives the ability to clients to take part in different activities and sports that they enjoy and may not have been able to do otherwise. Benefits of Corrective Exercise are corrected muscle imbalances allowing for increased flexibility, joint stability, ability to recover, muscle activation, neuromuscular efficiency, reduction of pain and risk of injury, and preparation of the body for optimal performance and higher intensity of exercise.
If you're interested in learning more about Corrective Exercise & Cierra's Corrective Exercise Package and how it can benefit you contact Cierra@intelligentfitnesspt.com. With this package, you’ll get an assessment and personalized stretches and exercises to correct your imbalances! If you’re having pain or trouble with certain movements, sign up for the package with Cierra today!