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Muscular Disease, Sarcopenia

January 16, 2019

Announcer: Farm & Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Taylor: Today we're talking about the muscular disease called sarcopenia. Hello, I'm Amy Taylor and welcome to Farm & Family. Today we're speaking with Brent Fountain, Mississippi State University Extension Service human nutrition specialist. So Brent, sarcopenia sounds kind of scary and it's something that we pretty much all get. So, what is sarcopenia?

Brent Fountain: Well Amy, sarcopenia is a disease that is associated with the aging process. It's typically defined by loss of muscle mass, loss of strength and function, and a loss of stamina that occurs as we grow older.

Amy Taylor: All right, so why does sarcopenia occur?

Brent Fountain: Well like with anything our bodys deteriorate with age. So, from about age 30 on we're going to loss muscle mass. Inactive people will lose between 3 to 5% muscle mass per decade, and while the loss is slowed in active people it's still going to occur. So, unfortunately it's a vicious cycle. As we age we lose muscle mass, which leads to a sensation of increased effort when we're active, which leads to participation in fewer activities, which unfortunately leads to even more loss of muscle mass. It's going to accelerate between ages 65 to 85, which is when we also see an increase in falls and bone fractures.

Amy Taylor: All right, so I guess no matter how much we work out we still have to kind of take that in to consideration. So, what can we do to prevent sarcopenia?

Brent Fountain: Well you still have to focus on being physically active and maintaining a quality diet. You want to have a regular physical activity program that combines the benefits of flexibility training such as stretching or other activities such as yoga, cardiorespiratory training which increases heart rate, and assists in burning extra calories, so walking and jogging are good examples of that. You want to be involved in a resistance training program. Resistance training requires the muscle to work, so when a muscle is regularly engaged you are more likely to maintain that muscle, so weight trainings an example, but so is body weight resistance, and items such as resistance bands and tubes. You need all three, but resistance training should be a key component.

Amy Taylor: That's good to know. You mentioned diet?

Brent Fountain: Yeah, diet is also important. Consuming too few calories can lead to accelerated muscle loss. Consuming too many calories can lead to weight gain especially in the form of excess fat. So, you want to consume an appropriate amount of calories for you. You also want to consume a variety of quality proteins such as: meats, poultry, fish, and nuts. Protein is a part of every cell in the body, and so it's used to repair and rebuild tissue that's damaged through exercise. Beyond that you want to consume quality complex carbohydrates from whole grains, and fruits and vegetables which will provide energy to be active, and quality fats to aid in feeling fuller longer. Finally, drinking water throughout the day helps keep your muscles hydrated, and helps to keep you properly hydrated.

Amy Taylor: So, certain things that we drink have a big impact on this. So, tell me about carbonated beverages. What should we do about that?

Brent Fountain: Well, you really want to look at it in terms of your whole days consumption. Of course we're going to always lean towards water being the best because it's not adding a lot of calories, it's not adding a lot of extra things to it, but carbonated beverages ... Yeah, they can be a problem if they're abused or consumed in an excess amount, but in general if the persons moderating it then they're going to be okay with a carbonated beverage every now and then.

Amy Taylor: Okay, so as far as exercise you mentioned that after we get in to our 30s that this is something that we're all going to go through. Should we increase our exercise?

Brent Fountain: Well, you want to look at it in the grand scheme of things, and for cardiorespiratory fitness you're looking at about three to five times a week. You'd like to be about 150 minutes of physical activity. For your resistance training you'd like to be at least two times a week, maybe three times a week. Then function ... our focus on those large muscle groups. So, you're talking about chest, back, arms, and legs primarily.

Amy Taylor: So, any final thoughts Brent?

Brent Fountain: Yes. Everyone should strive to be physically active for a lifetime, and of course it's never too late to begin an exercise program. However, if you've been physically inactive, or if you have a current or chronic medical condition it is important to get your doctor's permission before you begin any type of exercise program. Of course serious or even life threatening injuries can occur with exercise, so your physicians going to review your medical history and help you determine whether or not you're ready to begin that exercise program.

Amy Taylor: Okay. Thank you so much. Today we've been speaking with Brent Fountain, Mississippi State University Extension Service human nutrition specialist. I'm Amy Taylor, and this has been Farm & Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm & Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Department: Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion

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