The aging process refers to the natural and gradual deterioration of the body and its functions over time. It is a complex process that occurs at various levels and in different areas of the body. Our previous blog post discussed the impacts of cellular aging. Read on to learn more about how aging impacts muscles.
Aging at the Muscular Level
Aging can have significant effects on muscles, leading to a decline in muscle mass, strength, and overall function. This age-related decline in muscle health is known as sarcopenia. Below are some key ways in which aging impacts muscles:
Muscle Mass Loss
As individuals age, there is a natural loss of muscle mass, known as muscle atrophy. This is primarily due to a decrease in the number and size of muscle fibers. The decline in muscle mass contributes to reduced overall muscle strength and function.
Reduced Muscle Strength
Aging is associated with a decline in muscle strength, also known as dynapenia. This decline in strength can affect both upper and lower body muscles and is caused by various factors, including the loss of muscle mass, changes in muscle fiber type, and decreased neural activation.
Decreased Muscle Fiber Quality
With aging, there is a shift in muscle fiber composition. There is a gradual decrease in the number of fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are responsible for generating powerful contractions, and an increase in the number of slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are involved in endurance activities. This shift can result in decreased muscle power and performance.
Impaired Muscle Function
Aging can lead to a decline in the overall function of muscles. Muscles may become stiffer and less flexible, leading to reduced range of motion and mobility. Muscle coordination and balance can also be affected, increasing the risk of falls and injuries.
Slower Muscle Recovery
Aging causes muscle recovery rates to decrease after exercise or injury. This can be attributed to a variety of factors, including reduced protein synthesis, impaired muscle regeneration, and alterations in hormone levels. Slower recovery can impact physical performance and may increase the risk of muscle injuries.
Aging is associated with changes in muscle metabolism. There is a decrease in the metabolic rate and a reduced capacity for energy production in muscles. These metabolic changes can contribute to decreased muscle endurance and increased fatigue during physical activities.
It’s important to note that although aging is associated with changes in muscle health, regular physical activity, strength training, and a balanced diet can help mitigate the effects of aging on muscles.
We offer a number of age management treatment plans for our patients, including supplements and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). Visit our website to learn more about our services and to schedule a complimentary consultation, or call us at 877-573-3737.