MUSCULAR CHANGES WITH AGING
As we age, the amount of muscle tissue [or mass] and
muscle strength tend to decrease. This process is called
sarcopenia which means “loss of flesh”.
mass decreases because the number of muscle fibres
decreases. Loss begins around age 30 and continues throughout
life and occurs because the levels of
growth hormone and testosterone, which stimulate
Aging shows a decrease in muscle strength, endurance,
size, and weight relative to total body weight. This
is more due to inactivity, nutritional deficiency, disease,
or other long-standing conditions, rather than chronological
aging itself. Weight
training has proven to be extremely beneficial in
maintaining muscle mass with age, and has additional
benefits in maintaining bone density.
The decrease may be due to a reduced
blood supply, although the utilization of oxygen
is usually unchanged. Consistent to the ‘inactivity’
theory, both the diaphragm and the heart, two muscles
that work continuously; appear to be relatively unchanged
by aging. Aerobic
exercise is beneficial in maintaining oxygenation
of the blood by maintaining heart muscle mass and fitness.
Typcial Changes in Muscle with Age
Lipofuscin [an age-related pigment] and fat are deposited
in muscle tissue. The muscle fibers shrink.
Muscles mass - muscles may become
rigid and lose tone even if exercised regularly. Without
estimated muscle mass declines 22 percent for women
and 23 percent for men between the ages of 30 and 70.
Exercise can prevent this loss. This is due to a combination
of reduction in muscle volume and muscle type.
Muscle tissue volume - muscle cells
are replaced more slowly, and lost muscle tissue may
be replaced with a tough fibrous tissue. This is most
noticeable in the hands, which may appear thin and bony.
Muscle tissue type - combined with
normal aging changes in the nervous system, the relative
muscle type changes, causing reduced ability for
fast explosive movements.
Impact of Changes in Muscle with Age
Reduced movement - due to pain, stiffness
and deformity of the Joints. Inflammation may result
in breakdown of the joint structures. These joint changes
range from minor stiffness to severe arthritis.
Bones fractures - become more brittle
and may break more easily when not supported with muscular
cover. Injury risk is greater because of falls related
to gait changes, instability, and loss of balance.
Height - decreases, primarily caused
by shortening of the trunk and spine.
Postural - the posture may become
progressively stooped with the neck tiltling forward
and shoulders becoming narrower. The knees and hips
more flexed. The pelvis may become wider.
Movement slow and limited - the walking
pattern [gait] becomes slower and shorter. Walking may
become unsteady, and there is less arm swinging.
Fatigue - occurs more readily, and
overall energy and tolerance to activity may be reduced.
Loss of strength and endurance - even
fit people with healthy hearts and lungs may find that
performance improves in events that require endurance,
and decreases slightly in events requiring short bursts
of high-speed performance.
Reduced reflexes - most often caused
by changes in the muscles and tendons rather than changes
in the nerves.
Involuntary movements - muscle tremors
and fine movements called fasciculations are more common
as we age.
body building protein to boost muscle mass with age
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