Are you tired by the time you reach the top of the stairs? Have you been ill or hospitalized and lost weight recently? Are you walking slower than normal? These can all be signs of muscle loss, and it's more common than you might think.
Advanced muscle loss, or sarcopenia, affects one in three adults ages 60 and older, according to Age and Ageing review.
"You have more than 600 muscles in your body, which account for up to 40 percent of your body weight — that's almost half of you," explains Suzette Pereira, Ph.D., a researcher specializing in muscle health at Abbott. "While aging is natural, losing too much muscle is not and can directly impact your mobility, strength and energy levels, immune system, and even organ function."
Because muscles are intrinsically linked to so many systems, research published in The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine argues that a person's muscle mass is a far better predictor of health than BMI, or body mass index.
What are the risks of losing too much muscle? Read on to learn about the impacts and then check out 6 Ways to Age-Proof Your Muscles for simple diet and exercise strategies to stay active and strong – so you can do the things you love.