Why Do We Seem to Get Weaker as We Age?

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As you start to age, you might feel that you just don’t seem to be able to have the strength, stamina, or vigor that you used to have in your youth. Well, the good news is that aging doesn’t have to be like that, and there are definitely steps you can take to maintain and sometimes even regain your strength, vigor and vitality.

The natural consequences of aging are hard to deny. You can see it in your face as fine lines begin to appear, or you might notice your hair seems thinner. You might even start to notice a strand or two of gray appearing. These subtle changes in your appearance are partly due to your genetics can be noticed in your family. Some of us are genetically lucky enough to be able to age less rapidly. The other important factors to keep in mind are environmental factors, such as whether or not you smoke, drink, how much sleep you get, your nutrition and whether you exercise regularly. In other words, basic components of health matter immensely in terms of how gracefully your body will age.

The reasons that we age are still not entirely understood, but there are some intriguing new studies that help us understand the process a little better. As we age you might start to notice that your skeletal muscles seem to weaken, which is a phenomenon known as sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is a degenerative process where you lose more and more skeletal muscle mass as you age, starting typically around the age of the age of 40 with the most rapid decline occurring after the age of 75.

Andrew R. Marks, an esteemed cardiologist and molecular biologist, performed studies in mice with sarcopenia. He and his team surmised that sarcopenia had to do with calcium leakage from an individual’s cells as well as from issues that cause increases in the production of oxygen free radicals, which are highly reactive and can cause adverse health effects. The leakage of calcium from cells causes the muscles to not be able to contract as well, resulting in weakness and atrophy, which in turn leads to a loss of skeletal muscle mass.

Other investigations, done at the University of Iowa, looked at certain types of proteins, which when activated can muscle weakness, atrophy and loss of skeletal muscle mass. Researches at this institution have also been exploring natural compounds found in certain types of fruit that can reduce the expression of these proteins that cause muscle atrophy and thus minimize or slow the effects of aging. The studies done here are encouraging because they give us a glimpse of why and how aging occurs and sheds some light on factors that can be potentially modified in order to slow down the ability of the body to grow and repair muscle tissue.

While there is a lot related to sarcopenia that we cannot control, one way to slow the effects of aging and sarcopenia is to adopt healthy habits. This includes ensuring you exercise consistently, (as exercise slows muscle atrophy), healthy eating habits, and getting enough sleep. No one is immune to aging, but the bottom line is that just because you are aging doesn’t mean you’ll have to get weaker.

I have plenty of folks in their eighties and nineties who are in remarkably good shape which lends to the old saying, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Remember Jack LaLanne and how he was fit well into his nineties? There’s a good reason why – his habit of juicing and using healthy fruits, vegetables and proteins to replenish the body can slow down the effects of aging. The end result is that you too can age with grace and vigor, if you continue to nurture your body with good doses of rest, healthy lifestyle habits and lots of good old fashioned EXERCISE!

So don’t give up, start early, and just get moving!

The opinions shared in this article are those of the contributor and not Total Gym Direct.

Dr. Liz Salada

http://totalgymdirect.com/total-gym-blog/why-do-we-seem-to-get-weaker-as-we-age

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