, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 71-76

Aging effects on joint proprioception: the role of physical activity in proprioception preservation

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Abstract

Throughout the human life span the functions of several physiological systems dramatically change, including proprioception. Impaired proprioception leads to less accurate detection of body position changes increasing the risk of fall, and to abnormal joint biomechanics during functional activities so, over a period of time, degenerative joint disease may result. Altered neuromuscular control of the lower limb and consequently poor balance resulting from changes in the proprioceptive function could be related to the high incidence of harmful falls that occur in old age subjects. There is evidence of proprioception deterioration with aging. Regular physical activity seems to be a beneficial strategy to preserve proprioception and prevent falls among older subjects. Some studies have demonstrated that the regular physical activity can attenuate age-related decline in proprioception. This paper reviews the evidence of age effects on joint proprioception. We will discuss the possible mechanisms behind these effects and the role of regular physical activity in the attenuation of age-related decline in proprioception.