Musculoskeletal ageing is associated with profound morphological and functional changes that increase fall risk and disease incidence and is characterised by age-related reductions in motor unit number and atrophy of muscle fibres, particularly type II fibres. Decrements in functional strength and power are relatively modest until the 6th decade, after which the rate of loss exponentially accelerates, particularly beyond the 8th decade of life. Physical activity is a theraptuic modality that can significantly attenuate agerelated decline. The underlying signature of ageing, as manifested by perturbed redox homeostasis, leads to a blunting of acute and chronic redox regulated exercise adaptations.
Impaired redox regulated exercise adaptations are mechanistically related to altered exercise-induced reactive oxygen and nitrogen species generation and a resultant failure to properly activate redox regulated signaling cascades. Despite the aforementioned specific impairment in redox signaling, exercise induces a plethora of beneficial effects, irrespective of age. There is, therefore, strong evidence for promoting regular physical exercise, especially progressive resistance training as a lifelong habitual practice.
Ageing is associated with progressive functional decrements across all bodily systems. For example, indices of cardiovascular function such as maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) are progressively affected in aged individuals. Ageing also impairs the redox-regulated stress responses to exercise, with deleterious effects on skeletal muscle structure and function contributing to the decline in exercise capacity with advancing age, a process which is exacerbated by chronic habitual inactivity.