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Sense of Balance - Musculoskeletal System

Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 1Sense of Balance - Musculoskeletal System, Neuromuscular Systems, Sensory Systems, Higher-level Adaptive And Cognitive Systems, Balance Retraining

Musculoskeletal system

Research has indicated that lower extremity muscle strength is reduced by as much as 40 percent between the ages of thirty and eighty, and is even further reduced in nursing home residents with a history of falls. This is accompanied by an age-related loss of muscle fibers, with type II (fast twitch) fibers being lost at a faster rate than type I (slow twitch). As a result, maximum isometric force development decreases, the muscles fatigue more rapidly, and the rate of tension development in muscles is slower. There is also an age-related decrease in range of motion and spinal flexibility, leading to a characteristic flexed or stooped posture in many older adults.

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