New research has shown the benefits of exercise on keeping the muscles healthy as we get older. The process of muscles getting smaller and weaker has not been properly understood before now. The journal of physiology suggests that muscle wasting follows on from changes in the nervous system. Elderly people typically, have around 30 - 50% fewer nerves controlling their legs. Parts of their muscles would be disconnected from the nervous system, and so they become weaker. There is a form of protection in healthy muscles, in that surviving nerves can send out new branches to rescue some of the detached muscle fibres. In older adults with large, healthy muscles this is more successful. When nerves are unable to send out new branches, it can result in extensive muscle loss.
Researchers are still trying to understand why the connection between muscles and nerves remain healthy in some people, and not in others. There is currently research being done to look at whether regular exercise, as people get older, slows the process of muscles becoming disconnected from the nervous system, or improves the success of nerve branching to rescue detached muscle fibres.
In Europe now, there are at least 10 million older people with low muscle mass, which is a medical condition known as sarcopenia. They are at higher risk of falling, bone fracture and disability, making them more vulnerable to falls.
The research helps to explain why muscles decline as we get older, and discovering why, will help in the search for effective remedies.
Th study lead author is Dr. Mathew Piasecki. We have observed some very old muscles with just a few dozen nerves left, where young and healthy adults have hundreds.
The goal is to identify the best type of exercise, and to understand the physiology of why the nerve - muscle changes occur as we get older.
Researchers believe regular exercise in both middle and old age could slow down this disconnect between nerves and muscle.
There is no doubt that aerobic exercises like brisk power walking, cycling, jogging, dancing and swimming, really help with building up strength and stamina in the muscles.
With Yoga you can expect increased flexibility, toning and strengthening. It is holistic, and the ancient science of yoga benefits, not just physically, but mentally, intellectually and spiritually.
Keeping physically active throughout our life is very important, to help our bodies remain healthy.
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