Did you have a nice Memorial Day weekend (those in the US)? Ours was lovely. Nice weather, parades honoring those who gave their lives for the freedoms that we enjoy, and good food.
Today, I’d like to talk a bit about muscle loss.
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.
There is new evidence of a connection between dementia and muscle loss. What docs are attempting to figure out now is, which came first – the chicken or the egg?
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?
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 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 and preserving neuromuscular integrity. Therefore, a combination of endurance exercise and strength training is the answer. 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. The 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 can give you more information and help you to choose the right one for you.
Meanwhile, here is an example of a safely done crunch!
Best of Health,