I came across an article on www.bettermovement.org’s blog and immediately recognized the relevance for my patients.
The article focused on a research study about the effect of exercise on muscle tissue in recreational Master’s Athletes; a competition class for men and women aged 35 years and older.
The photo on the right is an MRI cross section of the thigh of several individuals. As you can see from the photo the effect of exercise on the aging body is very significant. The sedentary or inactive individual has a lot less muscle mass than the triathlete and significantly more adipose tissue. This becomes important as you begin to get older and activity levels tend to slow down. That slow down also results in decreased muscle density.
The other effect has to do with your bones. If you become less active your activity level and muscle stress on the bones decreases. As a result, the density of your bones also decreases. Liken this to an astronaut who travels into space. Without the constant pressure of gravity pushing down on his body the bones rapidly lose density because they don’t need it to maintain functionality.
When it comes to maintaining muscle density and bone density your body responds to stresses. Just like the astronaut, you need to stress your bones and muscles to maintain tissue density in your body. That way even as you age you will maintain strength and power!