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Sarcopenia May be Modified at Early Stages

Researchers evaluated progression among individuals for better understanding.

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Woman exercising to prevent sarcopenia

Fitness professionals may want to encourage those in their early 60s in particular to train as a preventive measure against sarcopenia. Study results noted in the Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle (2021; 13 [1], 254–63), show that sarcopenia, a rapid decline in muscle mass among older adults, may be counteracted through early efforts to preserve physical and cognitive functions and manage chronic diseases. Karolinska Institute researchers in Stockholm analyzed data of more than 3,200 men and women ages 60–99+ years, collected over a 12-year period.

“Perhaps the most interesting result was that after 5 years, a roughly equal proportion (just over 10%) of the individuals with probable sarcopenia had either improved or deteriorated. This suggests that sarcopenia is a dynamic condition that is modifiable, especially in the initial stages,” said the study’s lead author Caterina Trevisan, affiliated researcher at the department of neurobiology, care sciences and society, Karolinska Institute.

“Our results support the need for early interventions to preserve physical and cognitive functions and manage chronic conditions in older individuals,” said senior study author, Anna-Karin Welmer, PhD, senior lecturer at the department of neurobiology, care sciences and society, Karolinkska Institute. “With these tools, we could probably counteract muscle deterioration and the impairment in quality of life this entails. We now need intervention studies to find ways to use these tools to counteract sarcopenia.”

See also: Muscle: Use It or Lose It Until You Use It Again

Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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