Our population is living longer than ever before, and the ideas of “aging gracefully” and “longevity” have become greater concerns. It’s normal to want to look good and stay healthy as we get older, and so it’s important that we understand the science behind aging and what we can do about it.
So what actually changes as we age?
We experience both cellular changes and system changes.
Cellular changes consist of:
Stem cell exhaustion2
System changes consist of:
Cardiovascular changes (e.g. decreased max heart rate, decreased Systolic Volume, decreased sensitivity of receptors)
Pulmonary system changes (e.g.increased chest stiffness, decreased expiratory volume, increased alveoli, increased residual volume in lung, decreased tidal volume)
Neurological system changes (e.g.decreased gray matter, decreased reaction time, increased process time, decreased executive function)
Musculoskeletal changes (e.g.decreased muscle mass, decreased type 2 fibers, and decreased motor unit recruitment)
While these changes can seem daunting, they are a completely normal part of the aging process. However, they are why we see such physical and functional decline as we age.
Check back for more posts on the aging process and how we can combat it.
Apoptosis: the death of cells which occurs as a normal and controlled part of an organism's growth or development
Stem cell exhaustion refers to a decline in stem cell numbers and renewal capacity. Without stable populations of proliferating stem cells, tissues and organs lose their ability to recover from damage and begin to fail. (Read More)