"Forestalling frailty," Harvard Women's Health Watch, March 1, 2003
Larry Weintraub, "Strict regimen puts new life in old bodies," Chicago Sun-Times, July 2, 1991
What causes sarcopenia? No one is quite sure of the specific causes, although it's suspected that when nerve cells linking the brain and muscles are gradually lost via the aging process, the associated muscle cells are lost as well. Another factor might be diminished levels of hormones such as estrogen and testosterone that would otherwise help stimulate muscle growth. Others have speculated that a weakening immune system causes an increase in substances that break down muscle tissue. But probably the biggest cause of muscle loss is simple inactivity. Muscles that aren't exercised will atrophy much faster than muscles that get moderate, regular workouts. The great news is that it's never too late to start. Study after study has shown that launching a weight training program at any age can significantly improve muscle mass and slow down (but, alas, not stop) sarcopenia.
The word sarcopenia was coined in the early 1990s (or possibly in the late 1980s) by William J. Evans and Irwin Rosenberg, who used it in their 1991 book, Biomarkers: The 10 Determinants of Aging You Can Control.
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