Muscle up for function

Muscle up for function

16 November 2020

Over the last decade, there has been an increase in residential aged care with over 230,000 people living in permanent aged care facilities.

Falls and disability (loss of function) are common causes of institutionalisations and become more prevalent with ageing. Keeping bones strong to prevent fractures is important but another cause less known is sarcopenia.

Sarcopenia is a progressive and generalised skeletal muscle disorder diagnosed by the combination of loss of muscle mass, strength and function. It is associated with decreased basal metabolic rate, aerobic and functional capacity as well as increased insulin resistance, institutionalisations and mortality.

In the first few decades of life we accrue most of our muscle mass and strength. As we age, we see a significant decreased in both muscle mass and strength around 50 years with greater acceleration from 70years onwards. Low muscle strength is linked with disability and poor function is a predictor of fractures so maintaining or slowing the rate at which we lose our strength and muscle mass is important in maintaining function and independence with activities of daily living.

Tips to stay strong and prevent sarcopenia:

  • Progressive weight training or body weight exercises 2-3/wk on non-consecutive days
  • 8-10 exercises working on compound (multi-joint) movements using large and multiple muscles (eg. Squats, push ups, deadlift, etc) with some isolation (single-joint) exercises to focus on particular muscles (eg. Bicep curls, calf raises, etc.)
  • Include functional strength exercises (eg. Stair climb, sit to stand, step ups, lift and carry)
  • Do 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Work at a moderate to vigorous intensity

Resistance training does not have to involve going to the gym. There are a lot of exercises that can be done at home or in the park without any equipment.

Don’t wait until it’s too late, help out your older self by protect against sarcopenia now.

Get in touch with the Physical Recovery Team if you need a gentle push or help creating your workout.

  • Physical health and wellbeing
  • Veterans
  • Current serving
  • Partners and families

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