How to stay strong and coordinated as you age
With normal aging comes a decline in many physical abilities, such as speed, strength, and stamina. Coordinationcoordination of body movements also changes. As you age, all of these changes can make it difficult to do certain activities, such as run to catch the bus, walk around the garden, carry groceries into the home, keep your balance on slippery surfaces, or play catch with your grandkids. Do these activities need to become more difficult? We’ll examine why this happens — and what can be done to improve strength and coordination.
Changes in strength
The loss of muscle mass is associated with changes in strength, speed, and stamina. There is little decline in muscle mass between the ages of 20 and 40. However, after 40, there may be a loss of strength and lean body weight.
Loss of muscle mass can be attributed to a decrease in the number of fibers as well as a decrease in fiber size. The fibers die if they become too small. The muscle fibers that contract quickly shrink and die faster than other muscle fibers, resulting in a decrease in muscle speed. The ability of muscles to repair themselves also decreases as we age. One cause of these changes is a decline in muscle-building hormones and growth factors, including testosterone, estrogen, dehydroepiandrosterone (better known as DHEA), growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor.
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Changes in coordination
changes in coordination have less to do with muscles and more to do with the nervous system and brain. To do anything from hitting a golf ball to keeping a cup steady while walking across the room, you need multiple brain centers to coordinate. The wiring of the mind, or the white matter that connects different brain regions, is therefore crucial.
Most people over 60 years old who consume a Western diet and do not exercise are likely to have microvascular disease (also known as small vessel or microstroke) in their white tissue. The strokes may be so small they aren’t noticeable. Still, they can cause disruptions in the brain connections between the frontal cortex (which controls movements) and cerebellum (which corrects those movements on the fly as necessary).
As you age, you may also lose dopamine-producing neurons, which can cause your movement to slow down and your coordination to decrease. So, even if Parkinson’s is not your disease, you might still experience some of the abnormalities seen in Parkinson’s.
Last but not least, the “eye” side is also crucial to hand-eye coordination. Older adults are more likely to suffer from eye diseases, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. Mild difficulty in seeing may also be a sign of cognitive disorders such as Lewy Body Disease and Alzheimer’s.
Strengthen your coordination and strength
a reduction in physical activity is one of the main causes of a decline in strength and coordination as we age. In our society, there is a common myth that you should do less exercise as you age. It’s the exact opposite! As you age, it is more important that you exercise regularly. You may even increase the time you spend working out to compensate for hormonal changes and other factors you cannot control. Exercising to improve coordination and strength is beneficial for people of all ages. You may have to be more cautious with your exercises as you get older to avoid injuries. Ask your doctor or physical therapist for advice if you are unsure of the right exercises to do.
You can improve your coordination and strength whether you’re 18 or 88.
- Take part in aerobic exercises like jogging or brisk walking. You can also take aerobic classes for at least thirty minutes a day, five times a week.
- Exercises that improve strength, flexibility, and balance should be done at least twice a week. These include yoga, Pilates, tai-chi, and isometric lifting weights.
- Play sports you wish to improve in, like golf, tennis, and basketball.
- Use the advice of coaches and trainers and lessons given by teachers to improve your fitness skills.
- Exercise can be affected by a variety of diseases, such as orthopedic injuries, cataracts, other eye conditions, Parkinson’s, and other movement disorders.
- Feed your brain and muscles with a Mediterranean diet, including fish, olive oils, avocados, and other fruits and vegetables. Other foods should be eaten sparingly.
- While you sleep, you can improve your skills.