Four Areas of Muscle Deterioration
To maintain optimal function, human bodies require muscular activity and regular movement. When these are lacking, our muscle mass, bone density, strength, flexibility and range of motion all decline rapidly. As we age, if we stop moving and don’t use our muscles, four areas can begin to deteriorate:
When you participate in endurance exercises, you’ll keep your heart, lungs and circulatory system in better condition. An endurance exercise should make you breathe hard and you should be active for at least 30 minutes a day – most days of the week.
Working on endurance doesn’t require expensive equipment or a fancy gym. A well-paced walk several times a week works just fine at getting your heart and lungs working better. You can also swim, hike, dance or ride a bicycle.
As you age, you’ll begin to lose muscle mass unless you perform strength exercises.
If you keep using your muscles, they’ll stay strong and healthy. You’ll be happier too because you’ll be able to get in and out of a chair – and your car – by yourself. You’ll be able to play actively with your grandchildren. And you’ll be able to take a walk on the beach or through your favorite nature preserve. Best of all, strong muscles will help you avoid falls and broken bones.
As we age, our sense of balance can diminish at the same time that our strength is declining. This is a dangerous combination that can lead to falls and broken bones. Balancing exercises can help. They’re simple, need no special equipment – and require just a few minutes a day.
Losing flexibility as we age can make it difficult to perform everyday living activities – and can become a downward spiral toward further loss of motion. Start now to maintain – or even increase – your flexibility. Flexibility exercises are quick and easy to do – with no equipment or specialized clothing required.
If you are exercising, keep doing it and you can avoid deterioration! If you’re not exercising, start right away. You can prevent or reverse any deterioration due to aging. Not only will you start moving better and feeling more fit, you will also experience many other benefits.
NOTE: Always talk with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Every type of exercise is not appropriate for all people, especially if you have high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. And it’s important that you start slowly with any physical activity.