You want to stay vital as you age. But some older adults and cancer patients lose muscle and become frail. Dr. Amanika Kumar, a Mayo Clinic OB-GYN, says while frailty is part of normal aging, there are ways to reduce your risk.
Dr. Kumar says frailty is a lack of resilience, or the lack of ability to bounce back from injury or surgery. Frailty also may be coupled with muscle loss, which is called “sarcopenia.”
“Both frailty and sarcopenia seem to be age-related. So as we get older, we have a higher risk of both of those things. They also seem to be cancer-related. So if you have a solid tumor, you seem to be at risk of both of those things,” says Dr. Kumar
So how can you prevent both frailty and sarcopenia? Dr. Kumar says the best medicine is to keep moving.
“How can we decrease your risk of frailty, or if you have frailty, can we reverse that? If you have a loss of muscle, can you gain muscle? There’s a lot of research being done by some therapeutics and pharmaceuticals [companies], but what does seem to actually help are things like exercise, including weight-bearing exercise,” says Dr. Kumar.
You don’t have to run a marathon or powerlift. Just stay active. Walk 30 minutes a day or get out in the garden. Take part in activities you enjoy.
“I do think that can make a difference in your overall feeling of well-being and your overall fitness,” says Dr. Kumar.