Exercise doesn’t just make you feel younger—it may actually turn off the aging process in your chromosomes. Recent studies have found a link between regular exercise and the lengthening of the telomeres, suggesting that exercise can slow the clock so you live longer.
Am I Shrinking?
At some point in your 30s, you start to lose muscle mass and function. The cause is age-related sarcopenia or sarcopenia with aging. Physically inactive people can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you‘ll still have some muscle loss.
Falls Related to Loss of Muscle Mass
Less muscle means greater weakness and less mobility, both of which may increase your risk of falls and fractures. A 2015 report from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research found that people with sarcopenia had 2.3 times the risk of having a low-trauma fracture from a fall, such as a broken hip, collarbone, leg, arm, or wrist.
Muscle Can Come Back
But just because you lose muscle mass does not mean it is gone forever. “We can indeed increase muscle mass lost as a consequence of aging,” says Dr. Thomas W. Storer, director of the exercise physiology and physical function lab at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “It takes work, dedication, and a plan, but it is never too late to rebuild muscle and maintain it.”
Walking is not Enough
The fact that you may regularly run, walk, play tennis or ride a bike is not adequate to prevent an incremental loss of muscle mass and strength even in the muscles you’re using as well as those not adequately stressed by your usual activity. Strengthening all your skeletal muscles, not just the neglected ones, just may keep you from landing in the emergency room or nursing home after a fall.
Stay tuned for the next article on Tues, Jan 8, where we will reveal the directions for staying young & strong – how often, how hard & what exercises to do. http://n2shape.com/training-for-life/active-aging/