Why Exercise Gets Harder as You Get Older

Exercise is an important activity to help keep you healthy. This becomes especially important as you age, however it can get harder to do. Exercise can get harder because of loss of muscle mass, joint pain, and loss of coordination.

Loss of Muscle Mass

Starting in your 20’s you start to lose muscle mass. This is especially true as you reach age 60 and beyond. This is a natural event known as sarcopenia which occurs because the pathways for muscle growth and breakdown are imbalanced. The loss of muscle mass can make it hard to exercise because you are not as strong. You may also feel worried that you will fall. However, the effects of sarcopenia can be minimized by doing resistance exercises. These will increase your strength, muscle mass and help prevent falls.

Joint Pain

Joint pain can be part of the aging process. As you age your muscle strength decreases while your ligaments stiffen which decreases the support of your joints. Your cartilage starts to break down and the fluid that lubricates your joints also decreases. Initially, joint pain can increase when you start to exercise, which could make you less likely to do it. You can do low-impact exercises to help prevent this and continue to gain benefits from exercise. Swimming is a great activity for older adults because it’s easy on the joints.

Loss of Coordination

As you get older, you may experience changes in coordination. One of these changes could be disequilibrium or a loss of balance which will make it harder to exercise. There are many reasons for this to happen. Your vision can be affected by glaucoma or cataracts which can affect your awareness of your body in space. Your balance and coordination can also be affected by your vestibular system, which is your inner ear. Any problems in this system can create a loss of balance. Having some muscle loss can also lead to feeling unbalanced and decrease your coordination. You can combat this by making balance exercises a regular part of your routine and increasing your muscle tone overall.

Even though exercise becomes harder as you age, it becomes more important. It is more important because it can minimize the effects of aging and help you continue to function. Exercise will help you stay strong, reduce joint pain, and help you have good health as you continue to age.

Check out this article on how to protect your senses as you get older!

Simon Greenberg

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