By Maria Collinge via SWNS
An active lifestyle keeps you young by protecting against age-related muscle loss and function, according to a new study.
Researchers found that higher numbers of muscle stem cells (the key to long-term muscle regeneration and protection against nerve decay) can be found in those aged 68 and above who have been lifelong exercisers.
Active participants did a variety of workouts, ranging from resistance exercise and ball games to racket sports, swimming, cycling, running and rowing.
Lead author and doctoral student Casper Soendenbroe from the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark, said that previous studies focused on master athletes.
"This is the first study in humans to find that lifelong exercise at a recreational level could delay some detrimental effects of aging.
“Even a little exercise seems to go a long way, when it comes to protecting against the age-related decline in muscle function.
“This is an encouraging finding which can hopefully spur more people to engage in an activity that they enjoy.”
The study, which consisted of 46 male participants, divided the men into three groups: young sedentary, elderly lifelong exercise and old sedentary.
Each group was given resistance exercises to perform in a mechanical chair.
Performing a knee extension to evaluate muscle formation, the amount of force produced was analyzed from blood samples and biopsies from both legs of each participant.
Published in The Journal of Physiology, the study concluded that both young and old active men have healthier aging muscles.
They had superior muscle function and were more resistant to fatigue compared to their inactive counterparts.
Mr. Soendenbroe added: “We still have much to learn about the mechanisms and interactions between nerves and muscles and how these change as we age.
"Our research takes us one step closer.
“As the effects of aging on muscle health become more pronounced at 80+ years, follow-up studies are needed to see if the benefits of lifelong exercise are maintained later in life.”
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