Culture 2 min read

You're Never too Old to Benefit From Weight Training

Image courtesy of Shutterstuck

Image courtesy of Shutterstuck

A new study suggests that you’re never too old to start exercising or weight training, even if you’ve never been a master athlete.

In other words, older people have the same ability to build muscle mass as the highly trained athletes of a similar age.

In a paper published in Frontiers in Physiology, researchers in the University of Birmingham’s School of Sport and Exercise Science analyzed older men’s ability to build muscle. It began with two groups.

The first group, the master athletes, were people in their 70s and 80s who have participated is a structured exercise for most of their life. On the other group were healthy individuals of similar age, who are not accustomed to lifting even a dumbbell.

The participants had to ingest an isotope tracer in the form of heavy water, before taking part in a bout of exercise. They performed weight training on an exercise machine.

The researchers took muscle biopsies in the 48 hours before and after the exercise to analyze how the participants’ muscles responded to the training. Thanks to the isotope tracer, they could see how proteins were developing within the muscle.

It’s Never too Late to Start Weight Training

The researchers had expected the first master athlete group, with their superior level of fitness over a long period, would show an increased ability to build muscles. But that wasn’t the case.

It turns out both groups had an equal capacity to build muscle in response to exercise.

Co-author of the study and researcher at the University of Birmingham, Dr. Leigh Breen said:

“Our study clearly shows 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. Obviously, a long term commitment to good health and exercise is the best approach to achieve whole-body health, but even starting later on in life will help delay age-related frailty and muscle weakness.”

Strength training for older people has always been a hazy topic. However, the researcher stated that individuals could benefit from specific guidance on how to improve their muscle strength, even outside the gym.

Activities such as gardening, walking up and down the stairs, or lifting a shopping bag can all help if undertaken as part of a regular exercise regime,” Breen concluded.

Read More: Muscle Power: Weightlifting can Significantly Improve Life Expectancy

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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