Older adults experience significant muscle loss as they age. In their 20s, an average adult’s muscle mass forms around 50% of total body weight while for older adults above 60, the muscle mass is only around 25%. This reduction is called sarcopenia and needs special treatment and exercises to overcome the problem.
According to a recent study by the University of Liverpool, the reduced physical activity in winter months by older adults leads to a significant loss in muscle strength. In addition to this, there is also a decrease in bone mineral density. Such losses can lead to serious conditions like osteoporosis and fractures in older adults. The study showed that even two weeks of inactivity could cause significant muscle loss. This loss can affect your ability to perform daily activities like standing or walking.
However, this loss can be countered by keeping up your step count. If visiting a gym is not feasible for you, you should complete at least 10,000 steps in a day to meet the reductions in muscle and bones. Walking or increasing your step count will also ensure that you have a healthy amount of fat.
The study was conducted over a number of younger and older adults over a short period of time. For the first four days, each participant completed 10,000 steps per day. This was followed by two weeks of inactivity where everyone completed only 1,500 steps per day.
The results showed that though both the groups lost similar amounts of muscle size, muscle strength, and bone mass and gained fat in their muscles, older adults had less muscle and more fat, to begin with. This caused their muscle loss to affect them more significantly than younger adults.
Additionally, older adults also had respiratory problems and slower metabolism rates than younger adults that made them physically weaker.
The purpose of the study was to show how short-term inactivity affects the health of older adults, especially in winters. Keeping a good step count or a light exercise routine and having a balanced diet can help you maintain your muscle levels and get your fats to a healthy level.
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