Seniors: You Can Still Build Muscles
In fact, researchers from the UK’s University of Birmingham found that untrained seniors have the same ability to build muscle mass as highly trained, lifelong athletes of the same age. For the study, all the men were given a drink containing an isotope tracer that can indicate changes in how proteins were developing within the muscles. The men then worked out on an exercise machine. The researchers took muscle biopsies from all the men in the 48-hour periods just before and just after exercise to look for signs of how the muscles were responding to the exercise challenge. The study team had predicted the trained athletes would have an increased ability to build muscle, but results showed that both groups had the same muscle-building capacity. Lead researcher Leigh Breen reported that the study clearly showed that “it doesn’t matter if you haven’t been a regular exerciser throughout your life, you can still derive benefit from exercise whenever you start.”
My take? Muscle strength declines by about 15 percent per decade during one’s 60s and 70s so any exercise program should include resistance training to increase and maintain muscle strength. These new findings are heartening for seniors who may think it’s too late to build muscle. If you haven’t done any resistance training before, you’ll likely need instructions from trainers at a gym or a few sessions with a personal trainer to develop the best routine and learn how to perform the exercises safely.
Leigh Breen et al, “Comparable Rates of Integrated Myofibrillar Protein Synthesis Between Endurance-Trained Master Athletes and Untrained Older Individuals.” Frontiers in Physiology, August 30, 2019, DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2019.01084
More from this week’s bulletin:
- Exercise May Help Boost Memory, Thinking
- Too Much Chili Could Affect Your Brain
- A tasty curry recipe: Tofu Curry With Cauliflower, Rice Noodles & Cashews