Saturday, March 19

How to stay coordinated and strong as you age

So many physical attributes deteriorate with normal ageing, including strength, swiftness, and stamina. In addition to these muscle-related reductions, there are additional alterations that occur in coordinating the motions of the body. As a result of these changes, you may find that you are unable to accomplish activities like as dashing to catch a bus, walking around the garden, going grocery shopping and bringing them inside the house, maintaining your balance on a slippery surface, or playing catch with your grandchildren as well as you once could. However, must these activities deteriorate? Consider why these reductions occur — and what you might do to reclaim your strength and coordination.

Changes in your strength

Age-related declines in strength, speed, and stamina are all connected with decreased muscle mass. Although muscle mass does not diminish significantly between the ages of 20 and 40, after age 40, lean body mass and strength can decline by 1% to 2% per year.

Muscle mass loss is associated with both a decrease in the number of muscle fibres and a decrease in fiber size. They die if the fibers become too tiny. Fast-twitch muscle fibers contract and die at a faster rate than other muscle fibers, resulting in a loss of muscular speed. Additionally, the ability of muscles to repair itself reduces with age. One element contributing to these changes is a decrease in muscle-building hormones and growth factors such as testosterone, estrogen, dehydroepiandrosterone (often referred to as DHEA), growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factors.

Coordination changes

Coordination changes are less a function of muscles and more a function of the brain and neurological system. Multiple brain centers must be linked in order for you to perform tasks ranging from golfing to holding a coffee cup steady as you walk across a room. This emphasizes the critical nature of the brain's wiring, the so-called white matter that connects the various brain regions.

Unfortunately, the majority of persons over the age of 60 who consume a western diet and do not exercise regularly have some small "ministrokes" (also known as microvascular or small vessel disease) in their white matter. Although the strokes are unnoticeable when they occur, they can damage connections between critical brain coordination centres such as the frontal lobe (which directs movement) and the cerebellum (which provides on-the-fly corrections to those movements as needed).

Additionally, as you age, you lose dopamine-producing cells, which can delay your movements and impair your coordination; thus, even if you do not get Parkinson's disease, many people develop some of the movement abnormalities associated with Parkinson's.

Finally, vision changes — the "eye" aspect of hand-eye coordination — is critical. Eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration are substantially more prevalent in older persons. Additionally, modest visual impairment might be the first indicator of ageing-related cognitive problems, such as Lewy body disease and Alzheimer's disease.

How to enhance your coordination and strength

It turns out that one of the primary causes of ageing-related weakness and coordination loss is simply a lack of physical activity. In our society, there is a fallacy that it is acceptable to undertake less exercise as you age. The reality is just the contrary! As you age, it becomes increasingly necessary to exercise frequently — potentially even increasing the amount of time you spend exercising to compensate for hormonal changes and other uncontrollable factors. The good news is that strengthening and coordination workouts can benefit people of any age. (Note, however, that as you age, you may need to be more cautious with your exercise routines to avoid injury. If you're unsure which workouts are best for you, see your doctor or physical therapist.)

Whether you are 18 or 88 years old, the following activities will help you develop your strength and coordination:

Participate in aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week, such as brisk walking, jogging, biking, swimming, or aerobic classes.

At least two hours per week, engage in activity that improves strength, balance, and flexibility, such as yoga, tai chi, Pilates, or isometric weightlifting.

Practice sports such as golf, tennis, and basketball that you wish to improve at.

Utilize teacher-led sessions and assistance from coaches and trainers to enhance your fitness abilities.

Consult your physician with ailments that may impair your ability to exercise, such as orthopaedic injuries, cataracts and other eye difficulties, Parkinson's disease and other movement abnormalities.

Sustain a Mediterranean diet rich in fish, olive oil, avocados, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and chicken to fuel your brain and muscles. Consume additional foods sparingly.

Sleep well Because when you sleep, you can actually improve your skills.

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