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University study: never too late to get into fitness

Older people who have never taken part in sustained exercise programmes have the same ability to build muscle mass as highly trained master athletes of a similar age.

That is the headline finding of research by the University of Birmingham, which showed that even those who are entirely unaccustomed to exercise can benefit from resistance exercises such as weight training.

The study, published in Frontiers in Physiology, compared muscle-building ability in two groups of older men.

The first group were classed as ‘master athletes’ – people in their 70s and 80s who are lifelong exercisers and still competing at top levels in their sport. The second group consisted of healthy individuals of a similar age, who had never participated in structured exercise programmes.

Each participant was given an isotope tracer, in the form of a drink of ‘heavy’ water, and then took part in a single bout of exercise, involving weight training on an exercise machine.

The researchers took muscle biopsies from participants in the 48 hour periods just before and just after the exercise, and examined these to look for signs of how the muscles were responding to the exercise.

The isotope tracer showed how proteins were developing within the muscle.

The researchers had expected that the master athletes would have an increased ability to build muscle due to their superior levels of fitness over a prolonged period of time. In fact, the results showed that both groups had an equal capacity to build muscle in response to exercise.

Dr Leigh Breen, lead researcher, 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.

"Current public health advice on strength training for older people is often quite vague. What’s needed is more specific guidance on how individuals can improve their muscle strength, even outside of a gym-setting through activities undertaken in their homes – activities such as gardening, walking up and downstairs, or lifting up a shopping bag can all help if undertaken as part of a regular exercise regime."

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News

University study: never too late to get into fitness

Older people who have never taken part in sustained exercise programmes have the same ability to build muscle mass as highly trained master athletes of a similar age.

That is the headline finding of research by the University of Birmingham, which showed that even those who are entirely unaccustomed to exercise can benefit from resistance exercises such as weight training.

The study, published in Frontiers in Physiology, compared muscle-building ability in two groups of older men.

The first group were classed as ‘master athletes’ – people in their 70s and 80s who are lifelong exercisers and still competing at top levels in their sport. The second group consisted of healthy individuals of a similar age, who had never participated in structured exercise programmes.

Each participant was given an isotope tracer, in the form of a drink of ‘heavy’ water, and then took part in a single bout of exercise, involving weight training on an exercise machine.

The researchers took muscle biopsies from participants in the 48 hour periods just before and just after the exercise, and examined these to look for signs of how the muscles were responding to the exercise.

The isotope tracer showed how proteins were developing within the muscle.

The researchers had expected that the master athletes would have an increased ability to build muscle due to their superior levels of fitness over a prolonged period of time. In fact, the results showed that both groups had an equal capacity to build muscle in response to exercise.

Dr Leigh Breen, lead researcher, 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.

"Current public health advice on strength training for older people is often quite vague. What’s needed is more specific guidance on how individuals can improve their muscle strength, even outside of a gym-setting through activities undertaken in their homes – activities such as gardening, walking up and downstairs, or lifting up a shopping bag can all help if undertaken as part of a regular exercise regime."

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Lauren Heath-Jones rounds up the latest product launches in health and fitness
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The UK health and fitness industry has doubled in size since 2000. Will growth continue, or even gather pace? And what does this mean for the European health and fitness market? How big could it grow and what factors will have an impact? HCM asks those who have the most up to date research
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Featured supplier: The secrets to designing a stand-out fitness studio
The design and construction of a group fitness or exercise studio can have a big impact on the success of your gym.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Incorpore: Creating a fitter, happier and more productive workforce
Inactivity is described by The Department of Health as the ‘silent killer’ of our generation.
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TRX MAPS
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TRX MAPS completes body movement assessments in just 30 seconds to help trainers develop personalized fitness plans and goals for members. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Ecore
Ecore transforms reclaimed materials into unique performance surfaces that make people’s lives better. Ecore has ...
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Company profile: Matrix Fitness
At Matrix Fitness, our goal is to make innovative commercial fitness equipment that stands out ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Management software
Fisikal: Management software
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
Audio visual
Hutchison Technologies: Audio visual
Governing body
EMD UK: Governing body
Lockers/interior design
Craftsman Quality Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Spa software
ResortSuite: Spa software
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Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Exercise equipment
Eleiko Sport AB: Exercise equipment
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Property & Tenders
Diary dates
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Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Les Mills
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