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The importance of muscle strength in aging and its approach through telerehabilitation.

Aging is a biological process that causes physical, cognitive and functional decline in individuals. The pathophysiological changes associated with ageing affect the body, especially the neuromuscular system. This results in loss of neuromuscular function, decreased muscle strength and power, as well as changes in muscle architecture, known as sarcopenia [1]. Sarcopenia not only affects older adults, but can also manifest in younger populations due to sedentary lifestyles, poor dietary habits and stress [2].

Lack of physical activity at all ages can lead to several risk factors for chronic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and osteoporosis. It can also contribute to cognitive decline and affect mental health [2].

What is sarcopenia?

Sarcopenia is defined as an age-related disease characterised by progressive loss of muscle mass, strength and physical performance. Although it is most common in people over the age of 60, it can also affect younger adults with chronic diseases or prolonged physical inactivity. Sarcopenia has a significant impact on quality of life, increasing the risk of disability, falls and fractures, as well as dependence in activities of daily living [2].

Muscle strength is crucial for functionality and survival. It refers to the ability of the neuromuscular system to generate tension in muscles and produce movement. Improving muscle strength has musculoskeletal, systemic and metabolic benefits. Muscle strength can be developed through therapeutic exercises involving different types of muscle contraction [3].

Physiotherapy and the treatment of sarcopenia

Physiotherapy plays a key role in the treatment of sarcopenia and the development of muscle strength. Physiotherapy professionals design individualised rehabilitation programmes that include specific therapeutic exercises to activate different types of muscle fibres and promote cellular adaptation, such as muscle hypertrophy. They consider individual capabilities and limitations to achieve effective and appropriate rehabilitation [3]

According to the WHO, the population of people over 60 years of age will increase significantly in the coming years. It is estimated that more than 50 million people today and more than 200 million people in the next 40 years will be affected by sarcopenia [4].

Focus on muscle strength and telerehabilitation

The ReHub platform offers a wide variety of therapeutic exercises designed to stimulate muscle strength from different approaches. Using artificial intelligence, the platform adapts to the therapeutic goals of each physiotherapist and provides exercises suitable for each person, considering the types of muscle contraction and different levels of difficulty. Telerehabilitation allows the exercises to be performed at home, using simple or no materials [5].

These are some of the exercises that can be found in the ReHub platform library aimed at working the muscular power of the upper and lower train, fulfilling the objective of working on strength by involving different materials, or exerting resistance with your own weight.  The physiotherapist will have the possibility of adapting the indicated parameters of the exercise according to the therapeutic objectives of any pathology.

Physiotherapy plays an essential role in addressing sarcopenia and promoting muscle strength in people of all ages. Aging and lack of physical activity can affect quality of life, but through physiotherapy and telerehabilitation, it is possible to improve functionality and maintain an active and healthy life.

 

References: 

[1] LANDINEZ PARRA, Nancy Stella; CONTRERAS VALENCIA, Katherine; CASTRO VILLAMIL, Ángel. Proceso de envejecimiento, ejercicio y fisioterapia. Revista cubana de salud pública, 2012, vol. 38, p. 562-580.

[2] Calvo Higuera, I., & Gomez Carrillo, A. (2023). Sarcopenia y envejecimiento saludable: Reporte de caso. Revista De Nutrición Clínica Y Metabolismo. Recuperado a partir de https://revistanutricionclinicametabolismo.org/index.php/nutricionclinicametabolismo/article/view/499

[3] Felipe Isidro en entrevista con ABC. Recuperado de: https://www-abc-es.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.abc.es/bienestar/abci-felipe-isidro-pido-medicos-dejen-enviar-gente-caminar-sin-mas-202301271709_noticia_amp.html

[4] WHO statistics and estimates based on the prevalence of sarcopenia.

[5] ReHub platform for telerehabilitation.

 

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