Over the years, muscle loss is inevitable due to sarcopenia. The problem, common in the elderly, affects about 15% of Brazilians over the age of 60, and about 46% after age 80, according to the Brazilian Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology.
This decrease in lean mass can occur due to hormonal and physiological changes caused by aging itself. This is because testosterone levels decrease over time, causing a loss of muscle strength and quantity. However, with medical help, it is possible to reduce or even reverse this condition.
When excessive loss of lean mass occurs, other metabolic and hormonal causes should be investigated. Some endocrine diseases such as diabeticFor example, thyroid, parathyroid or adrenal gland disorders may be related to the shrinking of the body’s muscles. In this sense, it is important to evaluate an endocrinologist, as well as a geriatrician, to indicate the appropriate treatment.
Moreover, low lean body mass can also be related to diet. To gain muscle, it is necessary to eat a sufficient amount of proteins and carbohydrates. For this, the ideal is to consult a dietitian or nutritionist.
In general, adults should consume 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per kilogram of weight per day. For the elderly, this need increases to 1.2 grams per kilogram of weight per day. For those who need to restore muscle mass, the amount of protein is up to 1.5 grams per kilogram of weight each day. So, for example, if you are really losing muscle and your weight is 70 kg, you would need to consume 105 g of protein over a 24 hour period. To give you an idea, a 100gm red steak contains, on average, 23gm of protein. Not forgetting that calorie intake also needs to be increased. After all, calories give you the energy you need.
Strength exercises, without a doubt, are the most powerful for gaining lean mass. Therefore, in addition to weightlifting exercises, functional exercises with your own body weight or extra weights and even Pilates can also contribute to an increase in the muscles of the body. The best method should be determined between the doctor and the physical trainer, who should be in constant contact.
Another point of paramount importance that deserves attention is if you respect the interval between workouts. The muscle group needs to rest between exercises – an average of 48 hours – to rebuild the muscle fibers. And let’s not forget about cardio and respiratory exercises, too. This is because, in addition to muscles, the heart and lungs must also be strong. It is necessary to associate strength training with aerobic exercise.
Fonts: Bettina Saad, geriatrician and professor of geriatrics at UFRN (Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte); Bianca Villella, an exercise physiologist from Unifesp (Federal University of São Paulo), speaker and content producer; Carlos Roberto Gallia, Head of the Department of Traumatology and Orthopedics at Moinhos de Vento Hospital, Porto Alegre; William RollinHead of the Department of Endocrinology and Nutrition at Moinhos de Vento Hospital. Joao Pereira, a physical educator at Bodytech, in Rio de Janeiro.
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