Aging is a gradual and inevitable process, and begins almost in the same moment we are born. At first, the decline in the organism is not noticed, because we have more cells, or more capacity, than we need to function.
By 30, there is a decline in the density of bones in both men and women. This loss of bone density is faster in women after menopause. As a result, the bones become more fragile and more prone to fractures, especially in old age.
CHANGES IN THE MUSCULOSKELETAL SYSTEM AS YOU AGE
Individuals lose bone mass or density as the years go by and they get older, which can be mostly seen in women who have reached menopause. The bones lose calcium and other minerals.
The column is made up of bones called vertebrae. Between each bone, lies the gelatinous cushions (discs). The trunk becomes shorter as the discs gradually lose liquid and become thinner. As you get older, the vertebrae also loses some of their mineral content, thereby making each bone thinner. The spine becomes curved and compressed (tight). Bony spurs can also form on the vertebrae, caused by the aging process and the general use of the spine.
The arches of the foot become less pronounced, which contributes to a slight loss of height. The long bones of the arms and legs are more fragile due to mineral loss but do not change length. This makes the arms and legs look longer compared to the shortened trunk.
The joints become stiffer and less flexible. The liquid inside them can decrease. The cartilage can begin to rub and wear out. Minerals can be deposited in some joints and around them (calcification). This phenomenon is common in the shoulder.
The joints of the hip and knee may begin to lose cartilage (degenerative changes). The joints of the fingers lose cartilage and the bones thin slightly. Changes in the joints of the fingers are more common in women. These changes can be inherited.
Lean body mass decreases. This decrease is due in part to the loss of muscle tissue ( atrophy ). The speed and amount of muscle changes seem to be triggered by genes. Muscle changes often start at 20 years in men and 40 in women.
An age-related pigment called Lipofuscin, as well as fat are deposited in muscle tissue. Muscle fibers begin to shrink and there is a slower replacement of muscle tissue in the body. The lost muscle tissue can be replaced by hard fibrous tissue.
The muscles are less toned and less able to contract due to normal changes in muscle tissue and changes in the nervous system due to aging . The muscles can become stiff with age and can lose tone, even with regular exercise.
EFFECT OF CHANGES
The bones become weaker, fragile and can easily break. Decrease in height occurs, mainly because the trunk and the column shorten. The deterioration of the joints can lead to inflammation, pain, stiffness and deformities. Joint changes affect almost all older people. These changes range from mild stiffness to severe arthritis .
The posture can become more inclined. The knees and hips can flex more. The neck can be tilted, the shoulders can become narrower, while the pelvis becomes wider. The movement of the individual becomes slower and may become limited. The pattern of walking becomes slower and shorter. The gait can become unstable and there is little arm movement. As you get older, you are likely to experience fatigue much quicker and easily; in other words, you have less energy.
HOW TO REMAIN AGILE EVEN AS YOU AGE
Exercise is one of the best ways to delay or avoid muscle, joint and bone problems. A moderate exercise program can maintain strength, balance and flexibility. Exercise helps the bones stay strong. Ensure that you consult your health care provider before you begin a new exercise program.
It is vital to consume a well-balanced diet that contains a good amount of calcium, for stronger bones. Women need to be particularly careful and ingest enough calcium and vitamin D as they get older.