Health

You can fight sarcopenia, but will you?

Fuelling Your Body

BY FITZ-GEORGE RATTRAY

Sunday, June 16, 2019

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MOST of us hope to work towards a better life as we get older — finish school, begin working, thrive and save for retirement in our thirties, forties and fifties, then retiring and enjoying the fruits of our labour in our sixties, seventies, eighties, and perhaps beyond.

However, there is a disease which begins to affect some of us in our thirties and by the time we get to our retirement years, many of us will be afflicted. It is severe, painful, life-affecting and, in some cases, life-ending. This disease is called sarcopenia.

Sarcopenia, which is the loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength as a result of ageing, results in:

Strength issues — weakness; weakened grip strength; lack of steadiness; reduced balance; falling; reduced mobility; knee damage; hip damage; reduced activity; and loss of independence.

Pain and nerve issues — neck pains; moderate to severe back pain; shoulder pain; knee pains; nerve damage; brain disease; and shrinking of the brain (yes, your brain).

Endocrine and metabolic disruptions — inflammation; disrupted metabolism; weight loss or weight gain; increased body fat percentage (with or without weight increase); heart disease; pulmonary disease; endocrine (hormonal) imbalances; osteoporosis; bone fractures; disability; and death.

Sarcopenia is also known as muscle loss. It is specifically caused by an imbalance in anabolic and catabolic signals (muscle growth and breakdown), which, in effect, can cause every one of the conditions listed above.

Early signs include feeling weaker over time, reduced grip strength, increased challenge lifting familiar objects, slower walking, tiring more quickly, reduced willingness to move for small tasks such as getting water and reaching for the remote. If you experience one or more of these, visit your physician, as these can also be signs of other conditions.

Sarcopenia is a multifaceted disease that is associated with the ageing process. It is highly disruptive, with cascading effects like a branching domino effect of devastation. In fact, even the “normal” muscle loss associated with ageing — which begins in your 30s — can be equally as devastating, but in totality it is not inevitable, you can fight it.

Prevention, reversal and treatment

People are living longer, and, on the flip side, suffering and debilitation is increasing. A few industries benefit from this shift, such as the pharmaceutical industry, but no one else does.

As seen in wellness systems such as InteKai, you can make just a few consistent life changes to keep you on the right path.

1. Develop and enjoy a healthy nutritional lifestyle by minimising empty calories, processed foods, and alcohols. Embrace a balanced diet with:

a. sufficient nutritionally dense, fibre-dense calories;

b. required levels of protein;

c. micronutrients, including vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, creatine, and anti-inflammatory foods; and

d. probiotics and prebiotics.

2. lower your stress, increase your rest:

a. find counter stressors, hobbies, activities, social activities;

b. learn how to practise getting uninterrupted sleep time (some say at least six to eight hours).

3. embrace a more active lifestyle:

a. stand often throughout the day;

b. walk both generally and briskly as a part of your exercise routine;

c. use the stairs, et cetera.

4. very importantly, exercise regularly, especially resistance/strength training:

a. have an intelligently developed resistance training routine. If you are using your body weight (push-ups, squats, calisthenics, in general), tension bands, dumbbells, a home gym, or a gym membership with or without a trainer, make sure you are doing challenging resistance work, including compound movement leg work;

b. walk briskly, at the very least, two times per week;

c. take part in a cardio activity, stretch, practise your balance, coordination and dexterity. This may be in the form of several activities or a single activity, such as a sport, dance or martial arts.

Whatever you consider, remember this, the necessary changes can take as little at 18 minutes, six days per week. If you have difficulty planning this, contact us.

You can fight, but will you?

It is interesting that the most profound reactions to diseases are to diseases that we cannot control; even if the likelihood of contracting it is minimal. However, when we are aware of a disease that we are in complete control of, there is often apathy and disregard.

Somehow, the promise of prevention, cure or treatment through supplements as well as chemical, medical or pharmaceutical intervention, grabs our attention more than making a simple change.

Don't be a hapless victim of your own habituations, take charge of your health and wellness. Time, work, energy, family, and any other obligations you can think of only act as a crutch. The result of your excuses are your fault, your doing. However, sadly, it will also hurt those around you.

As little as three consistent dietary changes and 18 minutes a day can change your future, the future of everyone who follows your example, and the futures of loved ones who care about you.

Fitz-George Rattray is the director of Intekai Academy, which is focused on helping people live a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and weight management. If you are interested in losing weight or living a healthier lifestyle, give them a call at 876-863-5923, or visit their website at intekaiacademy.org


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