The Effects of Bed Rest on Muscle Mass

July 30, 2013 in LifeCare Health Services

While bed rest is a common recommendation for both injury and illness, studies show that this practice can lead to weakening of muscle mass in patients of all ages. A normal muscle, at complete rest, in the absence of illness, loses up to 15% of its strength each week. The first muscles that are normally affected by prolonged periods of bed rest are the trunk and lower extremity muscles that are used for walking and upright posture. Bed rest can be especially problematic for people age 67 and up due to more lean tissue loss in a quicker amount of time. In fact, once we are age 67+, inactivity causes us to lose muscle mass 3x faster than when we were young adults.

Patients often have a lack of self confidence from their sudden loss of strength and fear self-injury. This leads them to spend more time than needed resting in bed or sitting. We can help with a safe exercise program to get you back to your normal self after bed rest.

Sources: Kortebein P, Ferrando A, Lombeida J, et al. Effect of 10 days of bed rest on skeletal muscle in healthy older adults. JAMA. 2007; 297 (16): 1772-1774.

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