World-leading solutions for Lifelong Strength
13.04.2021

Webinar: Muscles and mobility matter - Lessons from research to inform practice

Date: Thursday April 29th Time: 2-3 pm AEST

Registration: CLICK HERE to register for this free webinar.

For many decades we have been discussing bone loss, osteoporosis; its importance, consequences, prevention, and proper management. Whilst osteoporosis is widely discussed these days, a similar and an equally devastating disease describing muscle loss, sarcopenia, is still largely unknown for many clinicians, underdiagnosed and mistreated.

There is overwhelming evidence from research over the past decades highlighting the importance of strength training to optimise muscle mass, strength and function, and its importance to maintain health and prevent disease. It has been shown that muscles have a direct liaison to many functions beyond locomotion, such as metabolic rate, glucose metabolism, cognition, blood pressure, and blood lipid levels. Indeed, muscle mass and strength has been directly linked to the treatment and prevention of almost all chronic diseases, and when exercise is properly prescribed, it can work as an efficient medicine to optimise muscle health and reduce the risk of many conditions. 

Skeletal muscle is the largest organ system in our body, second to water itself. Our muscles are our main movers but also have a role as endocrine organs with many responsibilities in the management of general health. Furthermore, skeletal muscle makes up almost half of the protein reserves in the human body. Proteins are the main structural components of cells with the responsibility for many physiological tasks such as building and repairing cells including muscle tissue and assisting in the fight against any viral and bacterial infections. Muscles behave as our protein reserves – the “banks” we can withdraw from when our body needs to fight viruses and rebuild cells. Understanding that muscles could act as an immune organ by producing acute phase protective proteins, regular strength training might be a crucial preventive action to fight against diseases.

Muscle health matters. As the average person can lose around 30-40% of their muscle mass from between 20 and 80 years, it is time to get into action and preserve the strength we have, despite the age.

After the year of COVID related inactivity, it is time to get into action to fight Sarcopenia. It is such a pleasure to welcome everyone to our first webinar of 2021, Muscles and mobility matter: Lessons from research to inform practice, and present our speakers, Professor Robin Daly, a Deakin University Researcher with a long research profile on Sarcopenia, and Richelle Street, from Blue Care, and exercise physiologist with a passion for health and wellness, especially in older adults. 

Speaker profiles

Professor Robin Daly is the Chair in Exercise and Ageing at Deakin University, Melbourne.

Robin has more than two decades of research experience in conducting clinical, public health and translational intervention trials evaluating the role of exercise and nutrition for preventing and managing common chronic diseases such as osteoporosis, sarcopenia, falls, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer as well as cognitive related disorders. 
Robin is an active national and international contributor of clinical guidelines in the area of exercise, calcium and vitamin D for osteoporosis and fracture prevention. He is Immediate Past President of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Sarcopenia and Frailty Research (ANZSFR), a fellow of Sports Medicine Australia and the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research, a member of the medical and scientific advisory committee for Osteoporosis Australia and a board member of Active Geelong. He is also the founder of the ‘Osteo-cise: Strong Bones for Life’ community-based osteoporosis prevention exercise program.

Richelle Street is as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist with over nine years of work experience in Aged Care and currently working and coordinating the Exercise Physiology Allied Health Discipline within Blue Care. 

Richelle has affiliations with the University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, University of Southern Queensland and the Australian Catholic University as a lead clinical educator for several exercise physiology students. Richelle has also developed numerous tools for AEPs to use across their work within the Aged Care Sector.
Richelle’s compassion, dedication and professional practice as an accredited exercise physiologist has been recognised in its highest regard by the industry, whereby Richelle was awarded Australian Exercise Physiologist of the Year in 2014.  In the past 3 years; 2020, 2019 and 2018 Richelle has been a finalist nomination for this award again respectively. Richelle’s work and Aged Care journey as an AEP has also featured in multiple national magazines including ESSA activate and The Australian Aging Agenda. 

HUR Australia Newsletter 1/2021 includes a summary of our last year's webinar, with an introduction of this year's program. You can read the extended interview of our first speaker, Professor Robin Daly below, with also a  client story from our clinical expert, Richelle Street.

In preparation for our webinar, we interviewed Professor Robin Daly from Deakin University about muscle loss, sarcopenia. 

Q: What are the consequences of muscle loss, both short term and long term
A: A loss of skeletal muscle mass is associated with a decrease in muscle strength and impaired functional performance which have been associated with an increased risk of disability, falls, osteoporosis, fragility fractures, frailty, loss in independence, reduced quality of life and premature mortality. Skeletal muscle also has important metabolic functions. During times of illness, it can serve as the main reservoir for amino acids to support the metabolic needs of vital tissues and organs in the body and for energy production. Muscle is the largest mass of insulin sensitive tissue in the body and the primary site of glucose disposal, and thus critical for the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. In addition, muscle loss has been associated with cognitive impairment and an increased risk of dementia as well as impaired immunity and various hospital complications (e.g, an increased risk of infection and poor outcomes post-surgery).
 
Q: Why is it so important we prevent muscle loss? 
A: Skeletal muscle is the largest organ in the body accounting for around 40-45% of body mass and is critical for both movement and metabolic functions. The average person can loss around 30-40% of their muscle mass from the age to 20 to 80 years. Since this loss in muscle has been linked to almost all common chronic diseases, it is important that strategies are implemented early to prevent muscle loss which can start around the age of 40-45 years. Of particular concern are people who are immobilized due to injury or illness, especially older people and the elderly who can lose up to 1 kg of muscle mass from their legs in just 3-10 days whilst bedridden, which has been linked to poorer recovery outcomes.  
 
Q: What are the best ways to keep up muscle - what should we do?
A: Currently there are no available pharmacological agents (drugs) available to prevent muscle loss. Progressive resistance (strength) training is the most effective strategy to improve muscle mass and strength, with marked benefits observed after only 12 weeks of training. For older people, the gains in muscle mass and strength observed after just 12 weeks can be equivalent to regaining the muscle loss that typically occurs over a decade. Maintaining an adequate intake of dietary protein, particularly when undertaking resistance training, is also important to maximise skeletal muscle mass and strength benefits. In terms of optimising physical function (e.g, improving balance, mobility, gait), challenging balance, stepping and mobility activities and/or include high speed resistance or functional training focused on improving muscle power appear best.  
 
Q: Why is muscle power so important as well age?
A: Muscle power represents the ability to produce force quickly (e.g, move your foot quicky to put your foot on the brake in your car or step quickly when balance is perturbed). This is different from muscle strength which represent the ability to generate maximal muscle force. Muscle power has been shown to decline earlier (around the age of 35-40) and more rapidly (with up to a 50% loss with age) than muscle mass or strength. Clinically this loss is muscle power is important as it has been shown to be more directly related to functional limitations and disability than either strength or mass. The good news is that we can improve muscle power. An effective approach involves performing high speed resistance training, in which you perform the lifting phase of lower limb exercises as rapidly as possible.

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