As adults get older, it can be easy to see how aging can affect functional movement.
Why do these changes happen? Can we do anything to halt or prevent these effects?
Below, we’ll look into the effects of age and what we can do to improve muscle activity and motor performance.
What Happens to the Body As it Ages?
Various studies indicate that adults showed a noticeable decline in muscle strength as they grew older. This process begins usually in your 30’s and becomes most pronounced at age 50 and older.
This decrease occurs due to natural muscle atrophy which can be faster or slower depending on your genetic history. Muscle fibers shrink, and the body is unable to create new muscle tissue quickly enough to compensate.
These same studies showed that elderly subjects lost lean mass as well as mineral bone density. This often results in developing bone spurs, rigid joints, cartilage loss, spinal cord curvature, and tough fibrous tissue in place of lost muscle mass. There are also natural changes to nervous system function which can affect your senses and movements.
How Do These Effects Affect Functional Movement?
Many of these effects compound into greater issues, including disease, which affects your ability to perform basic physical activity.
Lack of functional movement and stiff joints leads to muscle inflammation, pain, and stiffness which makes it more difficult, if not impossible to move your muscles in certain ways. Lack of circulation can lead to fatigue, reduced strength, and loss of endurance.
In addition to muscular issues, the risk for bone fractures increases with age. The loss of bone density can affect balance, posture, and reflexes. The result is that elderly individuals can struggle to perform basic functional movements, and worse yet, are at high risk for further injury.
How Can Aging People Maintain Functional Movement?
The positive side of this information is that there are proven ways to maintain healthy muscles and functional movement as you grow older.
The two most powerful ways to remain a healthy, older individual is through diet and exercise. Studies indicate that eating muscle building foods that are rich in protein when combined with regular strength training can slow, halt, or even reverse muscle loss. Making the active effort to work the muscles and utilize your full range of motion can allow you to maintain them over time.
Massage therapy can also prove tremendously beneficial for aging individuals and seniors. This is because many of the benefits of massage come with the same effects offered by regular activity.
Massage actively increases blood flow throughout the entire body and can break apart hardened tissues responsible for restraining functional movement. It also offers valuable stimulation to the nervous system which can reduce stress, tension, and encourage the production of feel-good hormones.
This muscle engagement will also promote balance and flexibility. Your massage therapist can manipulate your body in ways that relax areas of tension, and get the muscles accustomed to motions used in daily activities.
Massage Therapy for Aging Adults - In-Home Therapeutic Massage
It can be challenging to make the time for much needed massage therapy. It can be particularly difficult for seniors who face the mobility challenges we’ve discussed.
In-Home Therapeutic Massage wants to bring the benefits of massage therapy to you, wherever you are. Sore, stiff muscles and joints don’t have to be a guarantee as you get older. With regular therapy to promote functional movement. With our services, you can get relief from pain, and enjoy tried-and-true techniques that will leave you feeling energized and ready to move.
To get started on your journey to a healthier body, book an appointment online with us today! For additional questions about our services, contact us at 763-290-1563.