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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Research: Stay strong

Strength training and building muscle mass is key to a long and healthy life, according to new research – but be warned, big muscles don’t necessarily mean strong muscles

Published in Health Club Management 2016 issue 8

STRENGTH FOR LIFE

It’s widely accepted that regular aerobic exercise is key to a long and healthy life, but now new research suggests that hitting the weights could be just as important in avoiding an early departure.

In a new analysis by US researchers at Penn State College of Medicine, published in Preventive Medicine, older adults who met twice-weekly strength training guidelines had lower odds of dying.

Over a 15-year period, older adults who strength trained at least twice a week had a 46 per cent lower risk of premature death than those who did not. They also had 41 per cent lower odds of cardiac death and 19 per cent lower risk of dying from cancer.

This was in addition to the more obvious benefits of strength training for older adults – namely improved muscle strength and physical function – as well as improvements in fighting chronic conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, low back pain and obesity.

Many studies have previously found that older adults who are physically active have a better quality of life and a lower risk of early mortality, but far less data has been collected on strength training specifically – possibly because strength training guidelines are newer than recommendations for aerobic activity.

Strength training: A wide range of benefits in older age / PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Strength training: A wide range of benefits in older age / PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

DOES SIZE MATTER?

A study by Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK has found that bigger isn’t always better when it comes to muscles – because muscle strength doesn’t increase proportionately as the muscles grow in size.

The research was carried out on individual thigh muscle cells taken from a group of volunteers: 12 bodybuilders, six power athletes (such as sprinters) and 14 control subjects – men who were physically active but who didn’t weight train. Researchers stimulated the muscle cells and analysed the contractions.

By also measuring the size of the cell, they were able to calculate the force produced per gram of muscle. The higher the force, the better the muscle quality.

The individual fibres of the bodybuilders’ muscle cells were very large compared to the control group, and were able to generate forces that far exceeded those of other people. However, the individual cells had a lower force per gram of muscle than muscle cells from people who didn’t weight train – suggesting that excessive muscle growth was having a negative impact on muscle quality.

The power athletes had similar quality muscles to the controls, but were able to produce the force quicker. Their muscles were more powerful. “The training method seems to have an impact on muscle quality, which is of great importance in improving performance,” says lead researcher professor Hans Degens.

All that said, it’s important to recognise that weight lifting has an impact beyond muscle size: it can also improve the function of supporting tissues and blood vessels, as well as stimulating the nervous system to use more of the available muscle.

In short, reduced muscle force at a cellular level doesn’t necessarily mean impaired function at a whole body level – which is why bodybuilders are still able to perform significant shows of strength. Indeed, as a general rule, the bigger the muscle the more force it can produce.

Nevertheless, as the muscle gets bigger and bigger, there isn’t a proportional increase in its quality – there would appear to be an optimal size beyond which the gains are minimal.

The new study – which was published in Experimental Physiology – shows that neither the size of the muscle, nor an individual muscle cell, can be used to accurately predict its overall strength. 

The muscles of power athletes were able to produce force quicker / PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
The muscles of power athletes were able to produce force quicker / PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

MUSCLE vs FAT

Maintaining a high level of muscle mass is key to living a longer life, regardless of a person’s level of fat mass, according to new research.

The analysis from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in the United States found that cardiovascular disease patients who have high muscle mass and low fat mass have a lower mortality risk than those with other body compositions – although high muscle mass is the more important factor.

The researchers examined data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999–2004) of 6,451 participants who all had cardiovascular disease.

The findings highlight the importance of maintaining muscle mass in order to prolong life, rather than focusing on weight loss – even among people who have a higher cardiovascular risk.

The authors suggest that clinicians should encourage their patients to participate in resistance exercises as a part of healthy lifestyle changes, rather than focusing primarily on weight loss.

The research findings were also published in the American Journal of Cardiology.

Building muscle mass is more important than shedding fat / PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Building muscle mass is more important than shedding fat / PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/HCM2016_8research.jpg
Want to live a long, healthy life? Build up your muscles, says new research
Manchester Metropolitan University, Penn State University, UCLA,,Strength, resistance, research, ageing, muscle, weight loss, Manchester Metropolitan University, Penn State University, UCLA, bodybuilding, bodybuilder
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features

Research: Stay strong

Strength training and building muscle mass is key to a long and healthy life, according to new research – but be warned, big muscles don’t necessarily mean strong muscles

Published in Health Club Management 2016 issue 8

STRENGTH FOR LIFE

It’s widely accepted that regular aerobic exercise is key to a long and healthy life, but now new research suggests that hitting the weights could be just as important in avoiding an early departure.

In a new analysis by US researchers at Penn State College of Medicine, published in Preventive Medicine, older adults who met twice-weekly strength training guidelines had lower odds of dying.

Over a 15-year period, older adults who strength trained at least twice a week had a 46 per cent lower risk of premature death than those who did not. They also had 41 per cent lower odds of cardiac death and 19 per cent lower risk of dying from cancer.

This was in addition to the more obvious benefits of strength training for older adults – namely improved muscle strength and physical function – as well as improvements in fighting chronic conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, low back pain and obesity.

Many studies have previously found that older adults who are physically active have a better quality of life and a lower risk of early mortality, but far less data has been collected on strength training specifically – possibly because strength training guidelines are newer than recommendations for aerobic activity.

Strength training: A wide range of benefits in older age / PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Strength training: A wide range of benefits in older age / PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

DOES SIZE MATTER?

A study by Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK has found that bigger isn’t always better when it comes to muscles – because muscle strength doesn’t increase proportionately as the muscles grow in size.

The research was carried out on individual thigh muscle cells taken from a group of volunteers: 12 bodybuilders, six power athletes (such as sprinters) and 14 control subjects – men who were physically active but who didn’t weight train. Researchers stimulated the muscle cells and analysed the contractions.

By also measuring the size of the cell, they were able to calculate the force produced per gram of muscle. The higher the force, the better the muscle quality.

The individual fibres of the bodybuilders’ muscle cells were very large compared to the control group, and were able to generate forces that far exceeded those of other people. However, the individual cells had a lower force per gram of muscle than muscle cells from people who didn’t weight train – suggesting that excessive muscle growth was having a negative impact on muscle quality.

The power athletes had similar quality muscles to the controls, but were able to produce the force quicker. Their muscles were more powerful. “The training method seems to have an impact on muscle quality, which is of great importance in improving performance,” says lead researcher professor Hans Degens.

All that said, it’s important to recognise that weight lifting has an impact beyond muscle size: it can also improve the function of supporting tissues and blood vessels, as well as stimulating the nervous system to use more of the available muscle.

In short, reduced muscle force at a cellular level doesn’t necessarily mean impaired function at a whole body level – which is why bodybuilders are still able to perform significant shows of strength. Indeed, as a general rule, the bigger the muscle the more force it can produce.

Nevertheless, as the muscle gets bigger and bigger, there isn’t a proportional increase in its quality – there would appear to be an optimal size beyond which the gains are minimal.

The new study – which was published in Experimental Physiology – shows that neither the size of the muscle, nor an individual muscle cell, can be used to accurately predict its overall strength. 

The muscles of power athletes were able to produce force quicker / PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
The muscles of power athletes were able to produce force quicker / PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

MUSCLE vs FAT

Maintaining a high level of muscle mass is key to living a longer life, regardless of a person’s level of fat mass, according to new research.

The analysis from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in the United States found that cardiovascular disease patients who have high muscle mass and low fat mass have a lower mortality risk than those with other body compositions – although high muscle mass is the more important factor.

The researchers examined data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999–2004) of 6,451 participants who all had cardiovascular disease.

The findings highlight the importance of maintaining muscle mass in order to prolong life, rather than focusing on weight loss – even among people who have a higher cardiovascular risk.

The authors suggest that clinicians should encourage their patients to participate in resistance exercises as a part of healthy lifestyle changes, rather than focusing primarily on weight loss.

The research findings were also published in the American Journal of Cardiology.

Building muscle mass is more important than shedding fat / PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Building muscle mass is more important than shedding fat / PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/HCM2016_8research.jpg
Want to live a long, healthy life? Build up your muscles, says new research
Manchester Metropolitan University, Penn State University, UCLA,,Strength, resistance, research, ageing, muscle, weight loss, Manchester Metropolitan University, Penn State University, UCLA, bodybuilding, bodybuilder
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Despite the Prime Minister’s claims that trade with the EU would be tariff-free post-Brexit, the reality has become very different when importing gym equipment from the EU.
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Featured supplier news: Active IQ Skills Hub helps fitness professionals boost skills in post-Covid market
Suffice to say that the pandemic has completely changed the way fitness professionals work and the way consumers work out – and therein lies opportunity.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
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Featured operator news: Everyone Active bolsters Everyone on Demand and enters second year with five new partnerships
Everyone Active has signed a number of new deals which will see the operator strengthen its digital product offering, Everyone on Demand.
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Company profile: Art of Cryo
Art of Cryo is a new division of a renowned family business with 30 years’ ...
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Company profile: Hussle
Hussle exists for two reasons: To increase opportunities for people to engage in physical activity ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Gympass
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
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Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Exercise equipment
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Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
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MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
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Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
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Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
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Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
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Diary dates
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