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Inactivity vs Age-Related Activity Change

Inactivity vs Age-Related Activity Change

Richard explains that as people age, it becomes less clear what an inactive senior looks like compared to an active senior.  The following are some of the differences between inaction and age-related changes in old age:

  • Heart rate: The resting heart rate of a person stays the same from young adulthood up to their senior years. However, if a person is inactive at 80 years old, their resting heart rate will increase from what it used to be.  This means that the heart of an inactive senior citizen must work harder than the heart of an active senior.
  • Pulmonary changes: As people age, their breathing endurance goes down some, but this will only have a major effect during strenuous physical activity. During most normal activities such as walking around a shopping center, the change in breathing endurance is negligible.
  • Muscular-skeletal changes: It is inevitable that as people age, they lose some muscle mass and strength. Seniors who remain inactive lose much more muscle mass than those who are active.  A loss in muscle mass can lead to less endurance, flexibility, and bone mineral density.  Osteoporosis is not a normal effect of aging, inactivity accelerates muscle and bone loss.  Between age 30 and age 70, an active person may lose about 20-30 percent of muscle strength while an inactive person will lose 70 percent of their peak muscle strength over the same time period.

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