Aging is inevitable, as well as the age-related changes that occur with it. However, science has discovered that many of these changes are more associated with inactivity than just aging itself… increasing your physical activity may help reduce the effects of advancing age and some may even reverse or prevent it…
Age-Related Changes in Muscle
With advancing age, our muscles start to undergo progressive changes, primarily loss of muscle mass, size, and strength. These contribute to easy fatigability, weakness and reduced tolerance to exercise, and may be attributable to the following:
- Sarcopenia, the age-related loss in muscle mass and function due to a reduction in muscle size, mitochondrial numbers, and elasticity, as well as satellite cells, a stem cell that is responsible for muscle growth, repair, and regeneration.
- Reduction in muscle mass or the amount of muscles with an associated increase in fat and connective tissues.
- Reduction in muscle fibers in both numbers and size, which decreases power and strength.
- Muscle repair after injury slows down and often healed tissues are replaced with tough, fibrous tissues.
- Related changes in the neuromuscular system cause reduction in muscle tone and force production abilities.
Age-Related Changes in Bone
As we age, bony structures become more fragile due to the loss of bone tissues because of the imbalances in bone resorption and formation. The rate of bone resorption, the rate of bone tissue destruction, exceeds the rate of bone formation so bone weakens. The decrease in bone density during aging may be due to the following reasons:
- Reduction or loss of calcium, which results in a weakening of the bones. Women begin to lose calcium at the age of 30 while men start to lose calcium around the age of 60.
- Slowing down of protein synthesis, resulting in non-formation of collagen fibers resulting in brittle bones with a higher risk for fractures.
- Reduced physical activity. Bones need to be stressed to continuously increase mass.
- Hormonal changes. In women, menopause initiates the loss of bone minerals in bone tissues. In men, a decrease in sex hormones leads to the development of osteoporosis.
Age-Related Changes in Joints
With age, joint movements become restricted and stiff. The healthy joint cartilage begins to break down from a lifetime of use, so joints become inflamed and arthritic.
- The amount of synovial fluid decreases so that movements become stiffer and less flexible. The synovial fluid serves as joint lubricants to prevent friction between bones during movements.
- The cartilage becomes thinner and deteriorates, resulting in bone-to-bone contact, making every joint movement very painful.
- The costal cartilages that connect your ribs to your breast bone calcify which restricts breathing.
- The fibrocartilage that makes up the intervertebral discs between your backbones lose water, resulting in decreased shock-absorbing capacity and leading to back pain.
Why Physical Activity Helps in Combating the Effects of Aging on the Musculoskeletal System
Many of these age-related changes are caused by inactivity. Exercise can slow the age-related changes to muscles, bones, and joints. See Physical Activity Recommendation for the Older Adults.
- Exercise makes bones stronger and slows the rate of bone loss.
- Muscle‑strengthening exercises can increase muscle mass and strength.
- Weight-bearing exercise, such as brisk walks and weight training, can place normal stress on bones and so maintain ideal bone mass.
- Stretching helps in maintaining muscle elasticity and joint flexibility.
We grow old experiencing frequent pains and aches. It’s part of the natural process of aging. Although we can’t prevent them from happening, there are ways we can do to slow them down, avoid their bad effects, and manage their symptoms. We just need to keep our bodies moving, just as we keep our lives living. And for that every pain, we can always rely on Recovapro to keep us pain-free most, if not, all the time…
We need the pain to keep us safe, strong and prepared, and not to make us weak and vulnerable!!! — A REMINDER FROM RECOVAPRO