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Health Club Management

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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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Featured supplier news
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.
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Featured supplier: Join FitNation - the new fitness congress about innovation
FitNation, the new premier event about innovation in the fitness industry, will kick-off in Amsterdam on 4 October.
Video Gallery
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: Power Plate
Power Plate is a vibrating platform that enhances any movement to help you prepare faster, ...
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Company profile: Myzone Group Ltd
At Myzone we reward Effort to solve the pervasive problem of ‘diminishing motivation within exercisers’ ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Management software
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Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Member access schemes
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