Title: Muscle Quality in Aging: a Multi-Dimensional Approach to Muscle Functioning with Applications for Treatment
Authors: Fragala, M. Kenny, A Kuchel, G
Journal: Sports Medicine
Impact Factor: 4.2
Why they did it?
As we age, the strength and size of our muscles declines. The medical term for this is ‘sarcopenia’. In the U.S. it is estimated that half the population aged over 60 years suffers from sarcopenia and the associated effects which include loss of mobility and function, and decline in the ability to perform activities of daily living. In addition, low levels of muscle mass impairs your ability to metabolise circulating levels of glucose and lipids, thus resulting in in an increased risk of cardiometabolic disease. This review paper provides an update of the current evidence around the consequences and risk-factors associated with sarcopenia, and what options are available to prevent and manage this incapacitating disease.
How they did it?
The authors conducted a narrative review of current literature around sarcopenia and its health consequences. In this review they examined evidence from a wide-range of disciplines including muscle physiology, molecular biology, epidemiology, nutrition and clinical rehabilitation. It is not possible to discuss the whole article in this section however this review will focus on the briefly describing the phenomena of sarcopenia and the most effective prevention and management options.
What they found?
The latest evidence indicates that muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8 % per decade after the age of 30 years, with rates accelerating after the age of 60 years. In brief, type 2 muscle fibres, the fibres associated with force and power production, are the most affected by age. Resistance training (RT) is consistently shown to be a feasible and effective means of counteracting muscle weakness and physical frailty and improving muscle strength, size, and function. This appears to be the case even for the very old with one study showing that among adults aged >90 years, there was a 174% increase in strength from RT! The current RT guidelines suggest that adults should be doing at least 2 sessions/week involving large muscle groups (chest, shoulders, legs and back). When contrasted to RT, the data from pharmaceutical treatment and nutritional interventions as a treatment for sarcopenia are inconsistent. Moreover, the side-effects associated with pharmaceuticals (often liver toxicity and associated complications) further limit its effectiveness as a treatment option for sarcopenia.
Ok, what does this mean to me?
Sarcopenia is a debilitating disease that affects all adults aged over 60 years. RT remains the cornerstone for the prevention and management of sarcopenia. Trainers should encourage all clients, especially older adults to include RT into their weekly program. Preforming RT at least two times a week can limit the effects of sarcopenia.