As we age, our muscles, bones, and joints change. Those who lead active lives have a physiological age younger than their chronological one. Others who are sedentary are at an increased risk for osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Below are just a few signs of aging that should be noted and taken care of accordingly.
Signs of Aging Muscles
- Hand-grip strength decreases, making it more difficult to accomplish routine activities such as opening a jar or turning a key.
- Tiring more quickly and taking longer to recover.
The heart muscle becomes less able to propel large quantities of blood quickly to the body.
- Obesity and an increase in “bad” cholesterol levels. This occurs as the body’s metabolic rate slows.
Signs of Aging Bones
- As bones lose mass, osteoporosis develops. In the spine, osteoporosis can lead to crush fractures of the vertebrae, and most hip fractures in older populations.
- The chemistry of cartilage, which provides cushioning between bones, changes. With less water content, the cartilage becomes more susceptible to stress.
- Reduced flexibility occurs when ligaments and connective tissues between bones become less elastic.
Signs of Aging Joints
- Joint motion becomes more restricted and flexibility decreases with age because of changes in tendons and ligaments.
- Joints become inflamed and arthritic as thecushioning cartilage begins to break down from a lifetime of use.
Staying active to counteract the signs of aging is as simple as breaking up 30 minutes of activity a day into smaller sessions. An exercise program doesn’t have to be strenuous to be effective. Walking, swimming, and gardening are all activities to help maintain fitness as we age. If you are new to exercise, please consult a doctor before starting a regiment.
If you notice any of these signs of aging or would like more information, contact us at 201-444-4447.
Resource: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.