Ever wondered why even though you may weigh the same as you did when you were younger but somehow you are now flabby where you used to be firm? Experts agree that by the age of 70 years, the average person has lost a quarter of their muscle mass and by the age of 90 years, they will have lost half of it. This why old people have distinctly thinner limbs.
Unfortunately, not all of this muscle deterioration can be staved off by weight or Pilates training, but Pilates resistance and flexibility exercises will both improve tone, and most importantly keep a person as they age functional and flexible in daily life movement.
So what is going on in the human body which causes the muscles in the human body to weaken with age?
“In 1988, Tufts University’s Irwin Rosenberg coined the term “sarcopenia” from Greek roots to describe this age-related lack (penia) of flesh (sarx). Muscle aging likely has several underlying factors, including decreased numbers of muscle stem cells, mitochondrial dysfunction, a decline in protein quality and turnover, and hormonal deregulation. Loss of muscle mass is associated with—and possibly preceded by—muscle weakness, which can make carrying out daily activities, such as climbing stairs or even getting up from a chair, difficult for many seniors. This can lead to inactivity, which itself leads to muscle loss at any age. Thus, older people can enter a vicious cycle that will eventually lead to an increased risk of falls, a loss of independence, and even premature death” (Sept 1, 1988, The Scientist, Gillian Butler- Browne et al).
The good news is all recent science is now showing that while there are physiological changes that are natural to the aging progress occurring, these can vary significantly, be slowed, and to some extent reversed with exercise.
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