What’s More Important: Balance or Strength?

People often bemoan gray hair and wrinkled skin as some of the most unpleasant side effects of aging. It may be discouraging to watch your youthful visage slip away, but the status of your strength, balance and flexibility is of much greater concern. Significant declines in these areas can lead to pain, falls and fractures, and an overall loss of mobility and functionality. Think about the inability to play with the grandkids, climb stairs or carry groceries.

No matter how active we are, our muscle mass and strength decline as we age. In fact, muscle mass and strength peak at 30 to 35 years old. After that, they slowly but steadily decline. At age 65 for women and 70 for men, the pace of these declines increases, according to the National Institutes of Health. Similarly, everyone’s balance and flexibility decrease with age due to changes in vision, sensory nerves, joints, ligaments and more.

“Joints in the spine, hips, knees and shoulders naturally become more arthritic with age, and our ligaments and the interfaces between our tendons and muscles become more rigid,” said Dr. George Eldayrie, a sports medicine physician with the Orlando Health Jewett Orthopedic Institute in Winter Garden, Florida. “It’s a very known process.”

Excerpted from CNN

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