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Ageing

Ageing

 

As people get older there are many inevitable age-related changes that can occur to your body such as developing wrinkles and grey hair. The process of ageing is a normal physiological process that can also affect your muscles, joints and bones.

 

 

Almost 50% of the Australian population aged 75 years and over are struggling with some kind of disability. This shows the importance of keeping active to reduce your risk of chronic disease and disability as you age.

 

 

Common age-related changes include:

  • Age-related changes in bone - as you age the structure of your bones change resulting in a loss in bone tissue and lower bone density. Bones become less dense as we age for a number of reasons including inactivity, hormone changes, and the loss of calcium and other minerals from bone.
  • Age-related changes in muscle - muscle mass gradually declines as you age which can result in weakness and fatigue. This decrease in muscle mass is caused by changes in the muscle fibres and also changes in the nervous system as you age.
  • Age-related changes in joints - as you age, the ability of your joints to move freely decreases resulting in joint stiffness and less flexibility. These changes in the joints are caused by a lack of activity.
  • An increase in forgetfulness and mental decline – as you age, the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease increases.
  • An increase in chronic diseases – your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease increases as you age.

 

 

Healthy ageing
Although many of these age-related changes occurring in your body are normal, participating in some regular physical activity can easily prevent the onset of many of these. Keeping active and participating in exercise can prevent the age-related changes to the bones, muscles and joints. Becoming active can also help to reverse any of these age-related changes that have already occurred.

 

 

Benefits of exercise include:

  • strengthening bones and slowing the rate of bone loss,
  • helps to increase muscle mass,
  • balance exercises can reduce the risk of falls,
  • stretching exercises can maintain joint flexibility,
  • optimizes sleep,
  • reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and
  • assists in maintaining a healthy weight.

 

Make sure you consult your doctor or Accredited Exercise Physiologist before commencing any new exercise programs.

 

In addition to keeping your body active, it is also important to keep your brain active. Learn new things such as languages, skills or hobbies and utilize your memory to help reduce the risk of forgetfulness and/or dementia.

 

Finally, a healthy diet including all of the core food groups (whole grains, fruit, vegetables, healthy oils, low fat dairy and lean protein foods) is also essential for providing a wide range of antioxidants to help delay the onset of ageing. A healthy diet can also assist to minimise the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease, osteoporosis and cancer.

 

 

Disclaimer
The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.

 

Sources

The Better Health Channel
http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Ageing_muscles_bones_and_joints

 

National Institute on Ageing
http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/forgetfulness

 

 

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