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Weak Muscles, Abdominal Fat: A Dangerous Combination That Could Lead To Mobility Issues

Publicado em 01 outubro 2021

Weak muscles combined with abdominal fat can be fatal for problems, and it could lead to mobility issues in the elderly. Here's everything you need to know.

As people age, some changes might occur that may affect the mobility and the capacity of a person to move around. Unsteadiness while walking, trouble getting in and out of a chair, or falls are all examples of mobility issues. Muscle weakening, joint problems, pain, disease, and neurological (brain and nervous system) challenges are all frequent disorders in older adults that can contribute to mobility issues. When numerous minor issues develop at the same time, they can wreak havoc on mobility. One such combination is weak muscles and abdominal fat. A new study published in the journal 'Age and Ageing', weak muscles and abdominal fat are a dangerous combination that can lead to mobility issues in older people.

Weak Muscles Combined With Abdominal Fat Can Lead To Mobility Problems In Older People

Researchers at the Federal University of Sao Carlos (UFSCar) in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo collaborated on the study with colleagues from University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom. Although a slower stride is a typical part of theageing process, it might cause mobility issues if the walking pace drops dramatically.

Everyday tasks such as crossing the street before the traffic signals change become more difficult, and if the condition worsens, there is a greater chance of falling and a progressive loss of independence. Tiago da Silva Alexandre, a professor at the Department of Gerontology, Center for Biological and Health Sciences, Federal University of Sao Carlos (CCBS-UFSCar), and last author of a paper on the study said, "Our comparative analysis showed loss of gait speed occurring mainly when abdominal fat and weak muscles were associated. Gait speed didn't decline so sharply in older people who had only abdominal fat or onlyweak muscles."

The Research

The study looked at data from 2,294 people aged 60 and up who took part in the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSA). Based on their ELSA data for gait speed and muscle weakness (dynapenia), the subjects were split into four groups: neither dynapenic nor abdominallyobese, abdominally obese only, dynapenic only, and both dynapenic and abdominally fat.

When the study began, none of the individuals had any mobility or gait speed issues. Those with abdominal obesity and dynapenia had the slowest gait speed over the eight years of follow-up.

As per the researchers, the baseline gait speed for people in this age group without mobility restrictions was defined as 0.8 m/s (or 2.88 km/h). Roberta de Oliveira Maximo, a PhD candidate in UFSCar's Graduate Program in Physiotherapy and the first author of the paper said, "In the participants withabdominal obesityand muscle weakness, we observed a loss of 0.15 m/s in the eight years. At this rate, there may come a time when they can't cross the street in the time allowed by traffic lights."

Signs Of Mobility Issues In The Elderly

There are a variety of early warning signs that may suggest the onset of a problem in an older relative. These are some of them:

Walking unsteadily is one example of a balance problem

Having trouble getting out of a chair or staying seated

Having trouble ascending or descending the steps

A fall is one of the most concerning indications. As people get older, their chance of falling increases, and while a fall could be an accident, it could also indicate that they are having difficulties moving properly. Falls might also cause extra mobility issues as a result of the injuries they inflict.


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