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Sutherland NSW 2232

Seniors Week!

We have an exciting week planned with information to help our seniors understand the facts around ageing and and clear up some common myths using good quality research. An almost daily comment from our patients is “I’m just getting old” in explanation of their pain and decline in function. So how true is this really? Each day this week, we are going to go through some key areas surrounding this question. For today, we are going to start by gaining a better understanding of the body’s physiology as we get older.


Do our bodies fail us or do we fail our bodies?

The ageing process introduces widespread changes in the human body, including alterations in our body composition. The following keys are in regards to muscle mass, strength and bone density.

  • During a lifespan, We Reach Our Physical Peak Between The Ages Of 20 And 30 Years Old.

  • There is then a Steady Decline At Around 1% Per Year up until the age of 50.

  • Therefore, At 50 Years Old We Are Approximately At 80% Peak Capacity.

  • Between the ages of 50 and 60, the decline starts to accelerate up to 2% per year

  • Between the ages of 70 and 80, the decline starts to accelerate up to 3-4% per year (Little research exists for what happens past 90 years old)

One may say that this is concerning with this physiological structural drop off. However, we only have to look at some our our amazing feats as humans to think about what our true peak capacity truly is ( In July 2016, Eddie Hall broke the Guinness Book of Records for the most weight deadlifted (lifting a weight from the floor to waist height) at a staggering weight of 500kg). Therefore, we actually have plenty of physical potential in our bodies that many of us never use.

Furthermore, numerous research studies have demonstrated that regular exercise can help to significantly slow this rate of decline throughout the lifespan!

  • Regular Exercise Can Help To Significantly Slow The Rate Of Decline

Conversely, lack of exercise has also proven to help accelerate these age-related changes further. This can then lead to several diseases such as osteoporosis (brittle bones), type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease as well as muscle and joint problems such as persistent pain and osteoarthritis.

  • Lack Of Exercise Also Can Accelerate The Rate Of Decline

Even if you haven’t ever exercised, it’s not too late to start! Several research articles have studied what happens to previously inactive older people who begin to exercise and the results are very encouraging: maintenance of muscle mass, increased strength and increased bone density.

  • Previously Inactive Older People Can Increase Strength And Bone Density

So Do Our Bodies Fail Us Or Do We Fail Our Bodies?

You could say our bodies do decline as we get older, but that we still have plenty of capacity within our bodies to meet the daily demands that we need.

  • As We Get Older, We Just Have To Work A Little Harder To Get The Most Out Of Our Bodies.

No matter your age, activity levels or exercise background, exercise is a safe and effective way of making you feel younger so you can thrive into your later years rather than just survive.

We will have some great examples later in the week of people 50 years and older doing some great physical achievements. But next up for you we will be discussing Osteoarthritis and the truths and myths surrounding this worldwide issue.

Take Home Message:

  • Regular Exercise Can Help To Significantly Slow The Rate Of Decline

  • You CAN offset the effects of ageing with exercise

  • Maximise Your Potential You Are Not Using To Get The Most Out Of Life

  • It Is Never Too Late To Start Exercising!!

Thanks for reading and feel free to share with your friends and family!

For more information on Senior Strength and Conditioning click here!

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The Pontifex Physio Team

  1. Walter R. Frontera, Virginia A. Hughes, Roger A. Fielding, Maria A. Fiatarone, William J. Evans, and Ronenn Roubenoff (2000) Aging of skeletal muscle: a 12-yr longitudinal study Journal of Applied Physiology 88:4, 1321-1326

  2. Rantanen T, Era P, Heikkinen E, 1997. Physical activity and the changes in maximal isometric strength in men and women from the age of 75 to 80 years. J Am Geriatr Soc. 45:1439-1445.

  3. Cartee, G. D., Hepple, R. T., Bamman, M. M., & Zierath, J. R. (2016). Exercise Promotes Healthy Aging of Skeletal Muscle. Cell Metabolism, Vol. 23, pp. 1034–1047.

  4. Ho-Le, T. P., Pham, H. M., Center, J. R., Eisman, J. A., Nguyen, H. T., & Nguyen, T. V. (2018). Prediction of changes in bone mineral density in the elderly: contribution of “osteogenomic profile.” Archives of Osteoporosis, 13(1), 5–13.

  5. Skou Eriksen, C., Garde, E., Linde Reislev, N., Lawaetz Wimmelmann, C., Bieler, T., Kraag Ziegler, A., … Eriksen, C. (2016). Physical activity as intervention for age-related loss of muscle mass and function: protocol for a randomised controlled trial (the LISA study).

  6. Montero-Fernandez, N; Serra-Rexach, J. (2013). Role of exercise on sarcopenia in the elderly. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med., 49(1), 131–143.

  7. Janssen, I., Heymsfield, S. B., Wang, Z. M., & Ross, R. (2000). Skeletal muscle mass and distribution in 468 men and women aged 18-88 yr. Journal of Applied Physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 89(1), 81–88.