Top 5 Exercises for Preventing Running Injuries
Sarcopenia is a condition where muscles lose strength and size, and it’s commonly associated with ageing. Sarcopenia can often lead to decreased mobility, joint stiffness, muscle pains, lack of strength, and a risk of falls.
The prevalence of sarcopenia increases with age and can affect up to 10% of adults over the age of 60, and up to 50% of those over the age of 80. However, aging is simply one factor. In reality, sarcopenia is a form of deconditioning. Leading a sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, chronic diseases, and certain medications can all contribute to sarcopenia or generalised muscle atrophy.
Sarcopenia can also be caused by other factors including changes in hormones, inflammation, and changes in the nervous system. For example, as hormone levels decrease with age (for example, testosterone), we’d expect a decrease in muscle mass and strength.
At Surrey Physio, we really believe that sarcopenia is a form of aging and part of natural aging processes. Our bodies do unfortunately degenerate with age, and that includes our nervous system, cardiovascular system and musculoskeletal system. However, this can all be prevented and even to some degree reversed with the right exercise programmes, advice, guidance and support.
Resistance exercises, weight-bearing exercises, bodyweight exercises and strength and conditioning exercises can all help to strengthen muscles. Good nutrition is also important, with an adequate protein intake have been shown to be effective in preventing and treating sarcopenia.
Ben Coffey, Clinical Director at Surrey Physio www.surreyphysio.co.uk says “as we age, it’s important to do resistance exercises to increase strength in our muscles, and help prevent falls. Doing body-weight exercises like sit-to-stands can help improve muscle strength, reduce sarcopenia and prevent falls.”
Let’s look at our top 5 exercises for sarcopenia:
1. The Half Wall Squat
Open your legs slightly wider than shoulder width, stand with your back resting against a wall, and bend your knees to the 1/2 squat position. You can either go up or down, or hold the down position. Make sure you keep the middle of your knee-cap in line with the middle toes of your foot. Only go down as far as feels comfortable. Repeat for ten repetitions once per day. This exercise will help to strengthen your quadricep muscles, knee joints and legs.
2. Sit to Stand
Sit upright with good posture, and place your hands on the side of the chair. Gently lean forwards and use as much leg strength as you can to push yourself up. Use your hands and arms to assist. Once upright, stand up straight. When you feel comfortable, slowly sit back down, guiding yourself by using your arms. Try to keep a straight spine during the sitting rather than let your back round forwards too much. Progress to using one hand, or no hands. Repeat five to ten repetitions each day. This exercise will strengthen your legs and core.
3. Shoulder Push
Grasp a light dumbbell in each hand, and gently lift the dumbbell above your head with one arm, and then the other. Only go as far as feels comfortable. If you do not have a dumbbell, use a water bottle instead. Repeat for ten repetitions each side. This exercise strengthens the deltoid muscle group and arms generally.
4. Leg Lift to the Side
Stand upright with good posture. Hold on to a wall or table for support. Put your weight through one leg and take the other leg out to the side, and back to neutral. Repeat ten repetitions each side, daily. This exercise predominantly strengthens your outer hip and gluteal (buttock) muscles, but also mobilises a stiff hip joint.
5. Wall Press
Stand upright with good posture, position yourself in front of a wall in a press-up position with your arms straight and palms flat on the wall. Gently drop your chest towards the wall by bending your elbows. Hold this position for 1-2 seconds. Return to the start position by pushing through your arms. Repeat ten repetitions daily. This is a chest, back and shoulder strengthening exercise. You can make the exercise harder by standing further back from the wall.
Sarcopenia is common, and a natural result of ageing, but nevertheless has a significant impact on mobility and quality of life. Stay active, exercise and seek advice from our team at Surrey Physio with either a physiotherapist or osteopath on the best aging exercises to prevent sarcopenia.
If you are a therapist reading this page, check out Rehab My Patient – a brilliant exercise prescription tool for therapists. Go to www.rehabmypatient.com for a 14-day free trial. This is only for therapists, not for patients. If you are a patient, call us on 0208 685 6930 to book an appt or book online at the top of this page.