All the trees are fully covered in pretty leaves now, and my tulips are (at last) blooming! Perhaps this time it’s truly the start of spring weather? Fingers crossed…
Today, I’d like to talk a bit about the “age related” muscle loss that we experience during and after menopause. And, more importantly, what we can do to prevent becoming frail.
Have you heard of sarcopenia? It’s like osteoporosis, only for muscles instead of bones. As we age, we lose muscle mass and if we are sedentary, we can end up with sarcopenia, which is severe muscle loss, weakness, and frailty.
There is also some new evidence of a connection between dementia and muscle loss.
Progressive withdrawal of the motor nerve from the muscle fiber appears to be a conspicuous feature of elderly muscle. Do the failing neurons in our brain (dementia) cause muscle fiber death or vice versa? They’re not sure yet, but they will continue to study until they find out.
If our ageing neurons are one reason why we lose strength with age, how can we preserve both muscle and neurons?
Research shows that exercise prevents both age-related motor neuron death and age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass. Endurance exercise delays the onset, or slows the progress, of these degenerative processes, thereby keeping motor neurons alive while also preserving neuromuscular integrity. Therefore, a combination of endurance exercise and strength training is the answer. The bottom line is that both muscles AND neurons benefit from being active.
According to the American Heart Association, brisk walking, dancing, biking, and climbing stairs are all good aerobic endurance exercises.
The top five strength training exercises that you can do at home are: Plank, Squats, Push-ups, Crunches, and Lunges.
In my Pilates classes, we do 4 out of those 5 in each class, and we do them safely. I modify these exercises for all levels of physical ability so that everyone can do them. Classes are all done via Zoom, so you can attend from anywhere!
As a bonus, the social connections we make in these classes helps to preserve our neurons as well!
If you’d like to try one of my classes, please contact me via email and I will set a time to provide you with more information and help to choose the right class for you.
Meanwhile, here is an example of a modified Pilates push-up!
Best of Health,