Providing the strength to stand, walk and pick things up, our skeletal muscle provides each of us with the physical freedom we enjoy.

Yet its erosion and the speed at which it occurs has a direct impact on how fast we age, as we move towards a sedentry lifestyle, frailty and the disability zone, a conditon now being refferred to as sarcopenia. 

Now it doesn’t matter whether your a king or queen, a billionaire or an average person like me, the speed at which we age is down to how fast we allow our skeletal muscle to erode besed on the physical and dietary decisions we make each day. 

So lets show our muscle some LOVE and work to protect it from erosion by lifting weights and consuming a diet sufficient in protein, at regular intervals throughout the day.

Join us for the next World Sarcopenia Day 06/21/2012. A campaign designed to get people to THINK MUSCLE!

Stay strong! :-)


Senior Citizens Suffer From ‘Tea and Toast Syndrome’


SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Elderly people who live on their own that don’t prepare whole meals or don’t know how tend to dwindle their intake to “tea and toast” at the expense of vital nutrients and their health, according to an article published in the February issue of Food Nutrition & Science.  

According to Nutritionist Ellie Wilson, MS, RD of Price Chopper Supermarkets, “Tea and Toast Syndrome” leads to reduced calories and a gradual loss of wellness and muscle due to poor protein intake.  Wilson says research is showing that snacking may be a great way for seniors to meet their needs.

To read full article, please click here.


Sarcopenia Day – 21st June 2011.

The first official Sarcopenia Day is scheduled for the 21st June 2011. 

To show support and help spread the word, please ‘like’ our Sarcopenia Day Facebook page or retweet this post…  :-)

About Sarcopenia

Coined in the 1980′s to help focus funding from the United States congress, sarcopenia (pronounced Sarko-peen-Ya) describes the gradual erosion of lean muscle and weakening of the human body.

Despite being named by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as one of the top five biggest health risks facing the US population and healthcare costs estimated to be $11.8 – $26.2 billion in the USA alone, sarcopenia still remains widely unknown outside of professional medical circles. 

Proposed as a global event, Sarcopenia Day will help raise awareness of a condition whose impact will be felt by every man and women and provide advice on how best we can delay its onset by preserving our strength and ability to exercise through the physical and dietary choices we make today.

Should anyone wishing to offer direct assistance, then please email us at support [@]



Sarcopenia Day

Coined in the 1980′s to help focus funding from the United States congress, sarcopenia (pronounced Sarko-peen-Ya) describes the gradual erosion of lean muscle and weakening of the human body and subsequent shut down of key bodily functions.

Yet despite the fact that sarcopenia will impact each and every one of us, knowledge and understanding of this condition remains widely unknown outside of professional medical circles.

So we may bridge this gap I propose the establishment of a global sarcopenia day to help people better understand the debilitating impact of sarcopenia and how best they can delay its onset by preserving our strength and ability to exercise through the physical and dietary choices they make today.

In 2004, the annual healthcare costs of sarcopenia in the USA, was estimated to be between $11.8 to $26.2 billion. A figure that with the graying of America is expected to escalate unless effective public health campaigns are implemented to reduce the onset and occurrence of sarcopenia.

Should anyone wish to help me achieve this, then please get involved here.

Keep It Movin’ | Good Form

By Sara Baker | Thursday, April 5, 2007, 06:00 AM

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

I say this all the time to clients, “move it or lose it.” But it really is true. Just about every system in our body will atrophy, decline, wither, weaken, or become inefficient if it is not regularly challenged and/or utilized.

The definition of this decline in the skeletal muscle system (the type of muscles that move your body) is called sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is a greek word meaning “poverty of flesh.” Sarcopenia is a universal part of the aging process. The process of gradual muscle loss starts in your thirties and becomes significant in your fifties. At age 80 more than 50% of people will have clinically determined sarcopenia that is defined as 2 standard deviations below the mean of the average healthy population.

The impact on this loss of muscle mass is enormous. It decreases your ability to recovery from injury, illness, or disease because muscle mass stores nitrogen and amino acids that are essential for our autoimmune system to function. And it decreases your ability to function by decreasing your strength, balance and endurance. Sarcopenia costs our country $18.1 BILLION dollars each year in healthcare expenditures.

The really wonderful thing is that sarcopenia is preventable through regular resistance/strength training. Just as regular cardiovascular exercise is important to keep our heart and lungs in good shape and prevent disease as we age, resistance exercise helps to keep our muscular system from wasting and strength from declining. And don’t think you can’t build muscle/strength if you are over a certain age. Studies have shown that men and women in their nineties can build muscle mass and strength with resistance exercise.

Does anyone have creative ways they make sure they incorporate strength training into their workouts?


Take an active approach to preventing falls at home | Seattle Times Newspaper

All of us want to live at home as long as we can as we grow older. Yet home is where most injuries occur due to falls, forcing us to move. Numbers tell part of the story. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for people older than 65 in the United States. Ninety percent of the 300,000 hip fractures treated annually occur because of falls, most at home.

But numbers don’t come close to describing the devastating pain, trauma, cost, inconvenience and permanent disabilities that a fall can bring. First you’re on your feet, then you’re on your face. In less time than it takes to read this sentence, your days of living independently may be over.

Michael Lake of Seattle inspired me to address this critical topic when he wrote, “I’ve had several falls lately (I’m 77), the last of which sent me to the ER for stitches to my eyebrow and chin. So far, no real damage. How do you go about avoiding falls?”

Most of us assume that age leads to frailty — that it’s normal, inevitable, and there’s nothing we can do. Not so, say the experts. While our bodies certainly change as we get older, most falls are within our power to prevent. A combination of remedies is required. Ask not what you’re doing to escape disability, ask what you can do to avoid it. One is passive, the other active. Here are some active choices.

First, fall-proof your home. Forty percent of falls are the result of environmental factors. Use bright lights on stairs, halls and in the kitchen and bathroom. Remove clutter where you walk. Avoid slipping and tripping by eliminating throw rugs, repairing loose or torn carpet and using nonslip floor wax. Bathrooms are the most dangerous rooms in our homes because they’re slippery, so install nonskid surfaces and grab-bars in the tub/shower and by the toilet.

Second, be aware of how your vision, balance and reaction times are changing as you age — vigilance is half the battle. An eye exam can screen for glaucoma and cataracts or the need to change your glasses.

Have a nurse or doctor evaluate your medications, including over-the-counter ones, to make sure they’re not making you unsafe on your feet. Sedatives, cold remedies, antidepressants and many prescription drugs can form a potent brew, especially if mixed with alcohol.

An excellent book on the topic is “Home Sweet Home: How to Help Older Adults Live Independently” (AAL QualityLife Resources, $12.95), which I reviewed Aug. 21, 2002. Written by two veteran gerontologists, Dennis La Buda and Vicki Schmall, it lays out in easy-to-read language the ways to “de-barrier” and re-invent most living situations to allow older people to live at home longer, happier and more safely.

But where the pedal hits the metal in fall prevention is — dare I say it? — exercise. “If you could take exercise and put it into a pill, you’d have the first longevity medication,” said Dr. Robert Butler, president and chief executive of the International Longevity Center — USA and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author on aging.

Alas, lacking a pill to pop, we must return to what we know works: strengthening our muscles and learning balance techniques. To regain or retain your vitality and safe footing, you must get off your rump and move. Research shows that exercise improves the health of virtually everyone — even those past age 90, frail and suffering from diseases that accompany old age.

What we want to avoid is sarcopenia (pronounced sar-ko-PEEN-ya) — severe muscle loss that comes to people who are inactive for many years. Gradually losing strength, they become unable to perform everyday tasks, much less avoid calamity.

Sarcopenia is preventable and curable with exercise, says Michael Hewitt, Ph.D., a physiologist and research director for exercise science at Canyon Ranch Health Resort in Tucson, Ariz.

What’s the best exercise? It’s whatever you like to do, he says. The trick is, you need to go from nothing to something, then from something to more. Exercise benefits all ages — only the mode might differ. For example, he might recommend jogging for a 35-year-old and walking for someone in their 70s. But everyone needs exercise, especially as we grow older.

There are four critical factors: endurance, strength, balance and flexibility.

In my next column, I’ll tell you more, including a surprise (at least to me) and a great book on the subject.

Liz Taylor, a specialist on aging and long-term care, counsels individuals and teaches workshops on how to plan for one’s aging — and aging parents. E-mail her at growingolder@seattle or write to P. O. Box 11601, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110.


Making Muscle a Thing of the Present | Washington Post.

Making Muscle a Thing of the Present
New Guidelines Urge Older Exercisers to Put Emphasis on Strength Training

By Carol Krucoff
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, January 26, 1999; Page Z28

When most people start a fitness program, they do an aerobic activity, such as walking or swimming, to exercise that most important of muscles, the heart. But very old or frail individuals should first strengthen the rest of their muscles with a program of resistance exercises, say new guidelines issued by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

“Before one can walk, it is necessary to be able to get out of a chair (requiring muscle power) and maintain an erect posture while moving through space (requiring balance),” notes the ACSM in its guidelines on exercise and physical activity for older adults. “In the frail elderly . . . aerobic conditioning should follow strength and balance training, which is, unfortunately, the converse of what is done today.”

The major health risks for the frail elderly are immobility, falls and fractures, which are all related to muscle weakness, says Robert Mazzeo, a professor of exercise physiology at the University of Colorado in Boulder and chairman of the ACSM group that wrote the guidelines. “What’s limiting their lives is the inability to get up out of a chair or climb a flight of stairs,” he notes. “Strength training and balance exercises can help older adults build muscle strength and improve function so they can safely walk and do other aerobic activities.”

Over the last decade, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of strength training for all adults. Sedentary people begin to lose muscle in mid-life, and “we can see a pretty clear drop off in muscle mass around age 55,” Mazzeo says. “Studies indicate that muscle strength declines by approximately 15 percent per decade in the sixties and seventies and about 30 percent thereafter.”

This age-related loss of muscle has been named sarcopenia, from the Greek for “flesh reduction.” Like osteoporosis and arthritis, sarcopenia is a serious degenerative condition that has obvious effects on function, such as increased risk for falls and vulnerability to injury. Less obvious are the wide-ranging metabolic effects that result when muscle–the body’s most metabolically active tissue–diminishes. Having less muscle alters the metabolism, with numerous consequences that can include obesity, impaired glucose tolerance and changes in the body’s ability to regulate temperature. And since muscular contractions help keep bones strong, muscle loss can mean weaker bones.

Sarcopenia is widespread in our sedentary culture. “Nursing homes are filled with elderly people who are institutionalized not because of any disease or cognitive impairment, but because of muscle weakness,” notes William Evans, director of the nutrition, metabolism and exercise lab at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and a member of the group that wrote the ACSM guidelines.

Until recently, sarcopenia has been overlooked because muscle weakness was considered an inevitable part of growing old. But research by Evans and others has shown that strength does not have to diminish into decrepitude with age. Numerous studies demonstrate that resistance exercises can help frail elderly people in their eighties and nineties improve their strength to the point where many regain the ability to walk and perform other tasks without assistance.

“Muscles will get stronger in response to strength training no matter what your age,” says Evans, who notes that much of the muscle loss attributed to age actually comes from inactivity. Building muscles builds confidence, too. This can enhance mood, functioning and quality of life.

Proper nutrition is also important in helping seniors maintain muscle mass. Yet the guidelines note that half of those over 60 don’t consume an adequate amount of protein, which for elderly adults is between 1 and 1.25 grams per kilogram of body weight. (This means a 150-pound person would need 60 to 80 grams of protein daily. One six-ounce can of tuna has 40 grams of protein; four ounces of meat, fish or poultry has about 30 grams.)

A common mistake many seniors make when they do strength training exercises is to use weights that are too light, says the University of Colorado’s Mazzeo. For maximum benefit, people should pick a weight that is about 80 percent of the maximum they can lift. Typically, this would be a weight someone could lift at least 10 but no more than 15 times. To help find the appropriate weight and learn proper technique, get expert instruction at a YMCA or university-based wellness facility, Mazzeo advises. To improve balance, he recommends taking tai chi or doing home exercises that involve slow, controlled movements including standing on one leg.

In general, it takes frail or very old people about three to four months of doing resistance exercises two or three times a week before muscles are strong enough to start doing moderate aerobic activity. The guidelines recommend walking at least three days a week, working up to a duration of at least 20 minutes per session.

For all older adults, a regular program of strengthening and aerobic exercises can help reduce or prevent many of the functional declines associated with growing older, the ACSM guidelines note. Yet more than two-thirds of older adults don’t engage in regular physical activity, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

“Our society protects older people from doing physical tasks,” says the NIA’s new booklet on exercise for older adults. “That mindset has led to poor health and disability for millions. In reality, there are few health reasons that should keep older adults from exercising and increasing their physical activity, no matter their age. . . . In the long run, older adults hurt their health far more by not exercising than by exercising. Let’s get rid of the old mindset and start a new one: As a rule, older people should stay as physically active as they can.”

For a free copy of “Exercise: A Guide from the National Institute on Aging,” call 1-800-222-2225. To follow along with animated exercises, visit the NIA’s Web site at




Getting Thick In the Middle? It’s Not Hopeless


TWO CENTRAL truths about an aging body — the ease of acquiring a spare tire and the difficulty of losing it — were referred to by one doctor with irritating cheer as “a headwind.”

This frustrating phenomenon, and how to turn it around, preoccupies baby boomers and their elders alike. Increasingly, research suggests combining aerobic exercise with strength training not only promotes fitness, but helps reverse time’s drag on the metabolism.

Creeping obesity — Americans on average gain 25 pounds from age 25 to 65 — happens with astonishing ease, says Wendy Kohrt of Washington University. It takes only a few excess calories a day to add such weight over time. When activity wanes, it’s easy to consume more energy than we use.

But there’s much more to the story than that. With the passage of time, our metabolic rate — or the speed at which we burn calories for energy — slows down. The greater the lean muscle mass a person has the higher the metabolism. The gradual replacement of muscle with fat during aging decelerates our body’s energy-burning rate, notes Irving Rosenberg of Tufts University.

It’s a vicious cycle, but there’s hope for reversing the headwind as late as in our eighth decade of life. Of course, older people with health conditions must plan any exercise program with their doctor.

Working with volunteers in their 60s and 70s, Samuel Klein at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., found older people have a reduced capacity to oxidize fat during exercise. Instead, most of the energy they burn consists of carbohydrates.

WHEN THE SENIORS exercised only sporadically, their fat stores were broken down but weren’t burned up by the muscles as energy; instead the fat got recycled through the liver and redeposited in fat depots throughout the body. Unfair, but true.

Whether due to aging itself, or decreased physical activity, the muscles of sedentary elderly contain fewer energy factories known as mitochondria, with fewer enzymes to break down fats to use as energy. But Dr. Klein found structured exercise training boosts both to restore a youthful fat-burning power.

“The good news is that if older people train, they can normalize their ability to oxidize fat,” he says. The 16-week program — 45 minutes of cycling, four or five times weekly — boosted seniors’ metabolisms.

Another signpost of aging is weight gain in the middle. More than an esthetic problem, “apple-shaped” bodies carry an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. But here too, exercise training can pare the problem.

Dr. Kohrt put men and women, ages 60 to 70, through an endurance exercise-training program consisting of walking and jogging on an indoor track or treadmill, plus some cycling and rowing.

Defying the conventional wisdom about the difficulty of spot-reducing, her volunteers trimmed their abdominal fat and with it, she hopes, their risk of diseases linked to “central obesity.”

There is also a nutritional strategy — supported by scientific data — that could help. These experts generally stress a common-sense regimen that includes fruits, vegetables, grains and lean protein. Such a diet, says Edward Mascioli of Harvard Medical School, can help burn calories through a process called “diet-induced thermogenesis,” that is, producing heat from calories. Fitter people eating carbohydrate-based diets burn more calories this way than do sedentary people eating fat-rich diets.

In thermogenesis, your body burns off 10 of every 100 calories consumed from carbohydrates, but only one or two calories of 100 calories from fat, he says. Better still, if you exercise within a couple hours of a meal, you’ll use up more.

A business lunch of veal in cream sauce with mousseline potatoes and wines, for example, is not very thermogenic, says Angelo Tremblay of Laval University in Ste.-Foy, Quebec. Fat-and alcohol-laced cuisine make for a sluggish metabolism.

EXERCISE-AVERSE gourmands shouldn’t throw in the towel. Paul Williams of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., says, “We ought to increase exercise as we age. Exercise is very much an investment. You get out what you put into it.” His studies are finding even trained athletes gain pounds as they age. So think of exercise as dividend-bearing shares, and redouble your investment.

Dwindling muscle, called “sarcopenia” isn’t just a cosmetic issue, but a serious medical problem in the frail elderly. “The most effective thing people can do is become physically active,” says Tufts University physiologist Ronenn Roubenoff. While cardiovascular health and fat-burning requires aerobics, he says muscle-building requires strength training. So the ideal fitness program would alternate aerobics such as brisk walking, running or cycling, with strength training using hand weights or gym equipment.

While men traditionally gravitate to weight training, and young women have joined them in droves, getting more mature women to pump iron has been a tougher sell. Miriam Nelson of Tufts University is trying to change that mindset in her book “Strong Women Stay Young,” a primer on strength training.

“Older people, especially women, are intimidated by strength training. We’re told we need walking. And yes, that’s good,” she grants. “But it seems strength training is a much more potent factor in maintaining that precious muscle.”