I've though a lot about stiff muscles in recent weeks. I've noticed that old people, of course, have them. Sometimes, it seems the person gets stiffer and stiffer, more bed-ridden and more bed-ridden, and then he or she dies. Is the stiffness and inability to use the muscles associated with death? It certainly seems so. If we could figure out how to relieve the stiffness, how to make it go away, would we extend life? Perhaps.
I've also noticed, of course, that athletes -- those who work out -- acquire stiffness. You break the muscles down, or whatever, and they become stiff. Are these two situations related? Is the stiffness an elderly person experiences the same that an athlete experiences? Or, are they related, but just a little different?
If we want to live longer lives, we should want to know.
Maybe the stiffness the old person experiences is the same thing: muscle breakdown. Only with old age, the muscle does not rejuvenate, does not rebuild. What is it that causes rebuild? Is it the exercise, itself? The old person does not exercise, yet becomes stiff, anyway. Why? Or, is it that the old person has a lesser capacity for exercise, and thus experiences the muscle breakdown while doing a minimum amount, even so little that you don't even suppose they are exercising?
Sometimes, if an athlete does not stretch, but just breaks into a fast run without warming up, he or she pulls a muscle. Is it much the same with what happens to the elderly? Do they not have their muscles "warmed up" before they start to use them? Is this where we are going wrong? If we could just figure out how to keep their muscles prepped for the day's activities, would we extend their lives?
I remember being at a care center, and noticing how therapy called for them to take walks down the hall, and I wondered at how they got them out of bed without first stretching their muscles. They just plopped them on their feet to start walking with no concern for whether the muscles were ready for the walk. My own experience is that sometimes -- not always, but sometimes -- the muscles will be jammed if you do not stretch a little first. If they are jammed, you will not get the full benefit of exercise and might even do harm, by further jamming them
This "jamming" feeling might be different than stiffness brought on by muscle breakdown.
Does exercise lead to regeneration? If we want to rejuvenate the muscles in older people, should we be applying the same principles used by athletes in rebuilding their muscles? Perhaps. And that would mean exercise -- proper exercise -- is the/an answer.
I open a webpage that speaks of muscle growth, or what I am calling rejuvenation. It says, you must put a greater load on the muscles than what they are used to if you care going to have them develop. So, I wonder what level of exercise would spur growth in the elderly? Is walking up and down the halls going to be a great enough level of increase to spur muscle development? Or, will we need to do better than that?
The website says you also need muscle damage in order to have muscle growth. Does walking up and down the hallway provide enough exercise that you damage muscles, or must we go beyond that?
I think we must also consider that the elderly might not be capable of having these forms of muscle growth. Exercise might work for athletes, but it might not for the elderly. If so, is there anything we can change, so that they might, once again in their lives, be capable of muscle rejuvenation? Because, if there is, we might be finding a way to extend the life of the human body.