Weekly Wellness: What is Dynapenia?
Dynapenia it increases the risk for physical disability, poor physical performance, and even death. Research findings suggest that dynapenia is an important prognostic indicator of functional impairments in elders. With regard to the impact of dynapenia on mortality, grip and knee extensor muscle strengths were strongly related to mortality (even after accounting for muscle area and regional lean mass). More recently, it was reported in a longitudinal study of 436 women that faster rates of decreases in grip and hip flexor strengths independently predicted mortality after accounting for potential confounders. Collectively, these findings provide convincing data that dynapenia in older adults have serious negative consequences as it relates to physical disability, physical function, and mortality.
How is dynapenia different from sarcopenia? Sarcopenia is defined as loss of muscle tissue as a natural part of the aging process. This does not include loss of muscle strength, which is defined by dynapenia. Muscle strength appears to be a critical component in maintaining physical function, mobility, and vitality in old age, which is why it’s imperative to identify and study contributing factors of dynapenia.
Dynapenia can contribute to increased risk of falling as well as feeling weak and/or fatigued. With regard to the relation of higher levels of muscular strength to a lower risk of premature death, studies have shown that grip and knee extensor muscle strength are strongly correlated with mortality. Research shows a significant correlation between low levels of muscle strength and poor physical performance and/or physical disability in 90% of the studies. Together, these studies provide evidence that dynapenia in older adults is strongly correlated with increased risk of physical disabilities and mortality, and decreased physical function.
What can we do? Resistance training has been shown to help. Recent studies have shown a positive correlation between higher intensity resistance training and greater improvements in muscle strength. Also, there is a direct relationship between increased resistance training volume (which is the total number of exercise sets performed in a session) and improvements in lean body mass. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynapenia)
If you are an aging adult, speak with your physician about dynapenia and sarcopenia. If you need assistance with creating a strength training routine, seek out an experienced and qualified personal trainer to help you.