77-year-old New York Times journalist Jane E. Brody discusses a condition called sarcopenia, a loss of skeletal muscle function that occurs with age. Brody was diagnosed with sarcopenia despite being more active than many women her age, participating in daily physical exercise from walking and cycling to swimming and floor exercises. Sarcopenia only becomes more common as people age and often results in older adults losing their ability to live on their own.
Brody explains that “chronic illness, body-wide inflammation, and poor nutrition” play a role in the onset of sarcopenia –not just a lack of regular exercise. So in addition to recommending appropriate physical activity to slow progression of or event prevent sarcopenia, doctors also suggest that adequate nutrition can be beneficial. Brody mentions one doctor who points out that “protein acts synergistically with exercise to increase muscle mass.”