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July 06, 2021 4 min read

As we age, our bodies undergo a lot of obvious changes: age lines and wrinkles popping up on our faces, our eyes becoming droopy, tummies getting bloated, and gray hair starting to show. But much of the concern is not at all physical. We lose strength, fatigue easily, and deal with frequent aching joints - we constantly tackle with pain and disability. Other people experience osteoporosis and osteoarthritis  which greatly prevent them from being active as they still should.

But, although these changes are inevitably inescapable, there are things that we can do to slow its progression. Understanding the process of aging and knowing what to expect can help us develop steps to delay its effects and remain as totally independent as possible.

The Aging Muscles

Staying as active as we could make a difference in how we cope with these painful effects of aging. When we move, we train our muscles to keep working and our bones and joints still strong. All of these structures work hand-in-hand to maintain our bodies as we age so we can MOVE!!! Because without movement, we’ll be in pain due to muscle tightness, brittle bones, and stiff joints.

But how can we move when our muscles are already weakened by aging?

What is Sarcopenia?

As aging strikes, our muscles begin to shrink and lose their mass, which weakens us. It is a natural thing, but if whether we feel tired that we don’t want to move or we just don’t want to move because we feel pain, we become more sedentary, making the matter worse and likely affect our daily functioning. We’ll experience difficulty in accomplishing even the simplest tasks, such as opening a jar or turning a doorknob because of a weak hand grip. Sarcopenia is not a disease but a normal process that occurs with aging, and it refers specifically to the loss of lean body mass due to the loss of skeletal muscle.

The following are some of the consequences of Sarcopenia:

  • The loss of lean body mass reduces function because of reduced muscle strength.
  • There is a decrease in the number and size of muscle fibers, as well as a decrease in satellite (stem) cells that is responsible for muscle growth, repair, and regeneration. This results in delayed muscle reaction and activation.
  • There’s also a decrease in the number of mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell and the muscle's source of energy.
  • The body's metabolism slows down which, along with decreased muscle strength and physical activity, can lead to obesity and an increase in cholesterol levels.
  • Sarcopenia is prevalent in advancing age but is not universal. Studies found a higher prevalence in older adults with cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes mellitus, and respiratory disease.
  • Sarcopenia varies in gender and physical activity, and even race.
  • Sarcopenia greatly affects function, increasing the risk of falls and fractures.
  • The water content of tendons decreases with age, making every movement stiffer and intolerable to physical stresses.

Counteracting the Effects of Sarcopenia

These associated age-related muscle changes from sarcopenia result mainly from disuse rather than from a simple aging process. Therefore, the best way to counteract them is to simply MOVE!!!

  • Stretching maintains muscle extensibility and joint flexibility.
  • Strength training can increase muscle mass and strength, and also improve function.
  • Regular exercises may slow down sarcopenia and prevent the age-related increase in body fat.

HOW CAN RECOVAPRO HELPS IN COMBATING SARCOPENIA?

One might ask, how can older adults comply with the physical activity recommendation when they’re actually already weakened by sarcopenia?...

As repeatedly implied, the most effective way to prevent and treat sarcopenia and the related effects is to simply be physically active through exercise. Physical activity provides our muscles and bones the adequate "stress" they need to keep strong. However, this may not be suitable for aged, frail, or disabled individuals because their strength can further deteriorate with exercise and may reach a critical level where independent functioning can be greatly impacted. An alternative to these exercises is vibration therapy, such as the one delivered by Recovapro,which can provide the mechanical "stress" to the different tissues in our bodies.

A study that examined the effects of vibration therapy on sarcopenia has demonstrated favorable results and indicated that although it didn’t show a direct effect on muscle mass, vibration therapy can still be used in the management of this age-related muscle loss. Specifically, both the whole-body vibration and localized vibration therapy delivered at 300 Hz for 15 minutes have been shown to increase muscle strength and improve physical function. Furthermore, both types have been found to improve balance in sarcopenic adults, reducing the risks for falls. According to the same study, effects on strength were more sustained after localized vibration therapy when compared with whole-body vibration even if the application was interrupted for long periods.

The Takeaway:

Aging is inevitable, and we will all experience its effects. But as long as we keep on moving, we can fight back at sarcopenia and still do the things we love to do even if we’re not as strong or as flexible as before. Let Recovapro assist you in living the life you want, being happy and healthy at an old age…

Credit: background photo created by freepik 


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