Below is the transcript for the audio file – Impact of Aging on Muscles, Bones and Joints:
In this short audio clip, I like to talk about impact of aging on our muscles, bones, and joints? Let’s look at muscle first.
Skeletal muscle is the largest organ in the body. It’s a very important organ and is often referred to as an organ of longevity. Beside its obvious role in locomotion, skeletal muscle is a primary site for most of our glucose and fat metabolism and also involves in many other metabolic processes. Muscle mass is critical for health as we get older. In fact, muscle mass and strength are associated with mortality.
Unfortunately our muscle mass can start to decline in our late 30s and 40s. It decreases approximately 1% per year after the age of 30 and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60.
When we lose our muscle, we will lose our strength and stability. It goes hand in hand, all of which can put us at an increased risk for falls. The good news is that we can build and maintain muscle mass as we move into our 40s, 60s, probably into 70s, we can still gain a little bit of muscle. We can definitely gain strength with resistance exercise.
What about our bones?
As we age, the structure of bone as well as the balance between bone resorption and bone formation change. This results in a loss of bone tissue. Loss of bone tissue means lower bone mass. If you have low bone mass, you are at higher risk of fractures from a fall or a sudden bump.
Compared to men, women do experience accelerated bone loss beyond menopause, this contributes to their higher prevalence of osteoporosis.
No matter how healthy we are, as we age, our joints will show some changes. They become stiffer and less flexible, and are more susceptible to damages. The cartilage that lines the joints becomes thinner and the lubricating fluid (the synovial fluid) is reduced as we age. This means that joint surfaces aren’t able to slide as smoothly over one another, and this causes discomfort. In addition, our body’s ability to repair tissues is diminished, degeneration of joints can accumulate.
So to summarize, our muscles, bones and joints undergo physiological changes as a natural part of aging, but not all these age-related problems are unavoidable. Researchers now suggest that many factors associated with ageing are due to inactivity, therefore, engaging in regular physical activity in combine with good nutrition can help normalize some aspects of age-related physical health issues.