Muscles and Aging
As humans age, our muscles atrophy and weaken (i.e., sarcopenia), regardless of exercise regimen or lifestyle (Bross 1999). The muscles become smaller and less elastic, and muscle injuries become more common (Bross 1999; Baumgartner 1998). The ability to recover from injuries also decreases, as does tolerance for exercise.
Our senior years are a good time to exercise, as it improves quality of life. Sarcopenia, even in severe cases, can be reversed through strength training (Aniansson 1981; Frontera 1992). Exercise has also been shown to control body weight (very important in preventing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension) and strengthen bones. It is important for older people to engage in regular, low to moderate exercise rather than strenuous activity (Martini 1995).
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