No doubt aging reduces the physical performance of a person but there are ways through which one can remain fit while aging, elegantly.
How the endurance levels are affected by aging?
Research says that muscles remain in their best shape up to about the age of 45. And after that, every decade causes five percent corrosion in muscle performance. Our skeletal muscles are made up of two types namely as Type 1 (slow twitch fibers) and Type 2 (fast twitch fibers). Studies show that both types of fibers suffer from deterioration with age. However, Type 2 fibers face more atrophy leading to sarcopenia, a decrease in muscle fiber size or number or both.
As skeletal muscles experience atrophy with age, it also decreases the functionality of the muscles. Moreover our ability to use oxygen, in energy generation, also decreases over the years which lead to a further decline in fitness. This functional decline is not gender specific and affects both men and women equally. Symptoms of this decline are fatigue and decrease intolerance.
Does aging have more effect on certain group of muscles?
Research shows that muscle groups which are smaller in size are more prone to fatigue as compared to the larger ones. For example muscles of the gluteus region and back, suffer less atrophy. However other small muscles on the upper back such as Deltoids, Rhomboids, and Trapezius are more prone to atrophy which cause posture issues. Studies have revealed that posture directly impacts the oxygen flow. The upper spine, at the thoracic region, which covers lungs, undergoes changes over years and causes a bend in the spine by up to ten degrees by the age of 60. And this bend in the spine is called Hyperkyphosis. In addition, the elasticity of our spinal ligaments is also declined with age. And these two factors, bending of the spine and losing elasticity of ligaments, put great pressure on the lungs and decrease their capacity to work properly which results in less endurance.
“Posture,” says Dr. David Shapiro (a chiropractor in Brookhaven and Tucker, GA), “directly impacts oxygen flow and stamina.”
With aging how can you improve or sustain endurance?
Now the question is can we improve the endurance with aging? If yes, then how will it be possible? We can minimize and even reverse the endurance loss with persistent workout routines, healthy diet and maintaining a normal weight. In workout both, cardio and strength training, is beneficial. A study, in 2014, has shown that doing strength training, at moderate to high intensity, two times a week can improve endurance and power output. Whereas cardio and aerobic exercises, such as walking and cycling, not only lowers the resting heart rate but also lowers the blood pressure and boosts heart ability to supply oxygenated blood to skeletal muscles, making the negative effects of aging minimum.
Finally, we can keep ourselves fit and healthy and can minimize or even partially reverse the age-related changes with consistent workout and healthy diet, which not only save us from various diseases like cancer, heart diseases, obesity, and osteoporosis but also allow us to age gracefully and elegantly with full endurance and body energy.