Network Blog

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Sarcopenia . . . do you suffer it?

The following post was written by industry leader and Network friend, Justin Tamsett in consulation with Jamie Hayes. You can visit Justin's very informative blog at

I recently had a conversation with one of the most passionate fitness industry individuals in Australia, Jamie Hayes the Managing Director of Healthy Inspirations about what is Sarcopenia – accelerated loss of muscle tissue from insufficient physical activity.

I see that Jamie has recommend that Fitness Australia consider launching National Sarcopenia Week as an annual event that can be supported by clubs and trainers around the country. This is because most adults and many health professionals are not aware of the health risks and consequences of Sarcopenia.

Sarcopenia affects more than the elderly and frail. It most probably contributes to midlife obesity, reduced blood glucose management, blood pressure, self esteem, muscular skeletal problems to name a few.

In the world of fast fix weight loss, Sarcopenia can be accelerated by losing weight too quickly (pharmacy weight loss shakes and lap-band surgery) or even dieting without the correct exercise.

The only prescription known to delay and even reverse Sarcopenia is resistance training. That’s right the old fashioned ‘pumping iron!’ And not to excess but simply doing resistance training once a week could help reduce the effects.

Dental health experts know that the only way to preserve your teeth and gums is to brush and floss for the rest of your life – we spend on average 21 minutes a week protecting our teeth by brushing them. The same applies to your muscles – they require lifelong maintenance – resistance exercise – just 30 minutes a week could be enough!

You know I am going to tell you that the best place to do an EFFECTIVE resistance training program is in a health club and with a qualified fitness professional – a great message for the industry to share with the community!

With our industry that struggles to get:

Positive media coverage;
Have any attraction to 87% of the Australian popultaion that don’t exercise;
Any real traction with the politicians on how the fitness industry can reduce the health care costs for Australia;
I think Jamies suggestion of a National Sarcopenia Week has tons of merit! It would enable the Fitness Industry to articulate the unique health benefits that the fitness industry can bring to the health of Australians.

And taken direct from Jamie’s proposal to Fitness Australia:

“With the National Preventive health agenda in a state of ongoing discussion, it is perfect timing for the Fitness Industry to steal the initiative – to position our centres and trainers as “upstream” primary health providers.

Too often, government community initiatives ( fail to even mention Fitness Facilities and Professionals – as if the industry did not exist – but find millions to support sugar farmers!”

So 2 questions to you:

Had you heard of Sarcopenia?

Would you support a national Sarcopenia Week?

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Posted by: Anonymous | 03-Dec-2009 01:18 PM | 5 out of 5 stars

A National Sarcopaenia Week is truly valid in the face of our increasing longevity and the need to have a functional body for the additional decades we want to live independently.

The programmes we have introduced to combat sarcopaenia have a 95% adherence/attendance in the 50-85 year demographic. Done in small, supervised groups with a professional trainer at set times and using equipment that provides both concentric/eccentric phases, the activity is seen as fun and the results are impressive. Posture, global movement, ability to do daily living tasks well and general strength all measurably improved.

Same programme used for diabetics and pre-diabetics addresses the body fat/vital tissue compositon balance that influences carbohydrate metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

So, yes to a special week to recognise the need to hang onto every bit of muscle we can.