I read an interesting article the other day about muscle weakness with aging. Scientists from the Manchester Metropolitan University have discovered by the age of 75, people normally have between 30 and 50 per cent fewer nerves controlling muscles in their legs. This leaves large areas in the muscle where it is disconnected from the nervous system which acts as the electrical supply to the muscle as well as the communication link to the brain. Without these connections, muscle fibres wither away and die.
The researchers also found out that healthy muscles can send out new nerve branches to muscles which have become detached. They believe regular exercise can help this branching process.
Researchers at King’s College London and the University of Birmingham discovered that older people who exercised regularly, conserved their muscle mass and strength. Hippocrates in 400 BC said that exercise is man’s best medicine. The message to take away is not to stop exercising, especially as you age. I believe the same phenomena can affect balance and proprioception as well. You can slow this process down. All it takes is a little effort.