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Choosing to get Old

Strong women inspire other women to be healthy

 

Let’s face it, we’re all getting older, and getting older comes with its own aches, pains, and reduction in performance.

But does it have to?

Recent research shows us that it may not be the case.

From immune system activity, to muscle and strength building, to cellular benefits and gene expression, exercise as we age can have a notable benefit on how we age, and what we’re capable of as we do.

British scientists who studied a group of cyclists found (through muscle biopsies and by studying blood drawn from the participants) that the muscles in the riders in their 70’s resembled those of the riders in their 50’s. Their muscles retained the size, fiber composition, and other markers of health despite being over 20 years older. The more the cyclists rode, the healthier and younger their muscles! On top of that, the immune systems of the 70 year old cyclists resembled that of the much younger participants in the study. They are literally defying the aging process through physical activity!
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29517845)

Muscle strength and size also tend to suffer in sedentary adults as we age. However, a study done by Marcas Bamman et. al at the University of Alabama produced similar results to the British study. Adults in their 60’s and 70’s who began regular supervised weight training developed muscles similar in strength and size to adults in their 40’s. This required resistance training with bands and/or heavy weights, and was able to rebuild decades of muscle loss.
(https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8598201_Effects_of_Resistance_Training_on_Older_Adults)

The benefits don’t end there… as researchers at the Mayo Clinic conducted experiments that looked at the effects of exercise on the cellular level. They found that older adults who participated in interval training (not dissimilar from the training we do here at the Price Fit Club) had over 400 genes working differently, many of which are associated with the ability of mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell!) to produce energy for muscle cells.
(https://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/fulltext/S1550-4131(17)30099-2)

In the Western world, exercise in middle aged to older adults is frighteningly rare. Over the age of 65, it is estimated that less than 10% of people engage in regular physical activity. This feeds into the mindset that getting old and frail is inevitable, but thanks to ongoing research, we now know that that may not be the case at all…

 

We are all aging… but getting old is a choice.

 

–          Bryan

PS- Special thanks to Kim Morouney and Cathy and Lorne Harding for pointing me in the direction of several of these articles.

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