Why ageing does not cause stiffness

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Busted – another myth about ageing

Why stiffness causes ageing (and not the other way round)

Add this to your diet to keep your muscles working properly as you age

 

It’s the ‘classic’ elderly person.

The type you get in cartoons and comedies.

They’re in their 70s with grey hair, spectacles and boring shoes.

When they get out of their chair they wince in pain. “Ooooh!” they cry as they clutch their backs.

They hobble stiffly towards their walking cane.

Then they head very, very slowly to the shops to buy a pack of mince, or dog food.

Ask any kid to depict an elderly person and they’ll probably break into a stiff, hobbled walk.

After all, that’s how it is, right?

It’s inevitable.

And yes, if people suffer from arthritis or similar conditions, you might well suffer stiffness and pain… although that will be the case for a 40-year old with arthritis as much as a 70-year old.

But otherwise, the truth is…

Ageing does not ‘cause’ stiffness.

In fact, it’s the other way round…

Stiffness Causes Ageing

There are plenty of older people who have very supple bodies – usually those who have kept up exercise, or do yoga, Pilates, dancing, swimming and other hobbies.

If ageing caused stiffness, then everyone would be stiff as a board by roughly the same age, no matter what they did.

But the stiffness is a symptom of inactivity…

You see, when you’re young your muscles contain fluids that keep them stretchy and flexible. But when you spend a lot of time sitting or standing still, this fluid gets more viscous and your muscles become knotty and calcified. The layers of fascia around the muscles fuse together, dry out and turn them into something akin to stiff old leather.

Meanwhile those stretchy connective tissues that keep your skeleton moving flexibly begin to glue together.

Thus you get the ‘classic’ hobbling pensioner with brittle, rigid bodies walking slowly down the pavement.

But if you treat your muscles right, you can avoid this….

The real reason elderly people walk more slowly

US researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania have been studying how people move when they age.

They’ve found that the reason elderly people walk slowly is not because of an ageing brain, or an ageing nervous system, or weight gain…

It is PURELY because of a loss of muscle strength…

So called ‘age-related’ muscle loss is known as sarcopenia, which means “vanishing flesh.”

That loss in muscle strength happens simply because the muscles aren’t being used enough. For instance, statistics show that people confined to bed lose around 1% of muscle strength each day. When you spend to much time sitting, lying, standing in one place, you are also losing a small amount of muscle each day.

However, the problem can therefore be fixed… with regular exercise.

So the good news is that stiffness is NOT inevitable.

The bad news is that if you let your body get stiff, you will age faster.

Let me paint a picture…

Don’t let this happen to you!

As you get stiffer and sorer, you begin to lose hope that you’ll ever feel like you did when you were younger. You give up playing sport, going out dancing. enjoying long walks, crashing about in the sea or rivers, messing around with a football with your grandkids.

You do less gardening… you do less walking… you do less of everything…

But you spend more time in a chair, or driving to places that are only 10 minutes away.

This, of course, makes the stiffness worse.

So you rely on pain-killers for aching joints, or surgery, it you put up with it, drawing into yourself, losing your sparkle…

And then you blame it on ageing because – well, that takes away any responsibility. It seems to make sense.

Now I am NOT saying the above describes you…

But what I AM saying is that there is a dangerous trap we can all fall into – a habitual inactivity that leads to stiffness that leads to premature ageing that leads to even more inactivity.

We tell ourselves it’s just part of getting older.

Except it’s not.

How to avoid ‘old age’ stiffness

The solution is simply to keep your muscles awake and active for as long as you are alive.

And that doesn’t mean intense gym workouts and ‘ab crunches’.

Instead try swimming, walking, yoga, Pilates, deep message, daily stretches, living room workouts…

And also try gentle weight training to build up lost muscle.

A side benefit of this activity is that you will also increase the flexibility of the heart muscle too.

As I wrote in a recent issue of The People’s Doctor, if you’re 65 of under, you can reverse heart problems and prevent future heart failure by taking up exercise today.

Check this out: Do this for 30 minutes a day to reverse damage done to your heart

The authors of that study recommended this for optimum fitness:

• one high-intensity 30-minute workout per week

• one ‘moderate intensity’ session of 90 minutes (for instance, dancing, walking, or biking)

• two lower intensity sessions where you might be a little short of breath, but can still talk (a long walk for instance)

But see what you can do, based around your state of health and lifestyle.

Finally…

Add this to your diet to keep your muscles working properly as you age

You should also try and add more and magnesium into your diet. It is great for muscle strength and bone health. Many endurance athletes like cyclists and body builders use supplemental magnesium to help circulation and keep their bodies working at full capacity.

Magnesium also encourages your body to absorb calcium which could otherwise build-up in your cartilage and muscles, causing them to harden as you age.

Well worth trying out. You can try a supplement risk-free for 90 days if you click here.

I’ll be back with more next week!

Until then, stay healthy

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