Muscles and Ageing

Articles and Advice, Physiotherapyon October 3rd, 2013Comments Off on Muscles and Ageing

What happens to our muscles as we age?

Do they become smaller? Weaker? Is this part of the natural process of aging that cannot be changed, or is it because we stop using them?

A recent study titled “Chronic Exercise Preserves Lean Muscle Mass in Masters Athletes“ investigated whether the muscle loss commonly associated with aging is as a result of the physiological changes of the muscles themselves, or as a result of muscle disuse (atrophy) due to a sedentary lifestyle.

To determine this, the study used MRI imaging to compare body composition and lean muscle mass across a number of different people of various ages and activity levels.

Here is what they found…

40-year-old triathlete

74-year-old sedentary male

74-year-old triathlete

The images truly reflect the benefit that exercise has on our muscles.

The conclusion drawn here is that with simple lifestyle choices based around exercise and nutrition we CAN preserve muscle mass and strength as we age.

Rather than accept frailty as a inevitable factor of the ageing process, participation in lifelong physical activities to maintain our muscle strength is the key  – a true example of use it or lose it.

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