It seems science has proven you can literally age in reverse. The scientific journal headline reads “Resistance Exercise Reverses Aging in Human Skeletal Muscle”. Training your muscles can literally turn back the genetic clock and actually reverse the aging process.

Mitochondria are the energy factories of the human cells. These are the power plants of the body. As we age, our muscles begin to show “mitochondrial dysfunction”. This is what causes all the bad stuff associated with “sarcopenia”.  Sarcopenia is the wasting of muscle due to age and more importantly under-use.  This is characterised first by a decrease in the size of the muscle, which can lead to weakness and frailty.  It is slow, more common in women and most people consider it happens to everyone and is simply a part of getting older.  This research shows that this may not be the case.  Muscle loss is also related to the onset of many bone diseases and back issues.  Muscle loss can lead to joint problems of the spine, knees, and hips due to reduced stability.

Resistance exercise builds muscle, and this research shows that it can reverse the aging process and it can do it at any age.  After just 6 months of resistance exercise training, test subjects showed a “reversal of most of the genes affected by age” in muscle tissue.  However, with age and NO resistance training, researchers found 596 genes expressing themselves with “aging”, or decreased mitochondrial function.  The research showed that with resistance training (in this case simple resistance training), their strength increased by over 20% and their genes literally “reverted back” to the same markers as “younger” genes after only the 6 months of exercise which is quite amazing.

When the older subjects in the study began, they were almost 60% weaker than the younger members of the study.  In just 6 months, they were only 38% weaker than the younger group so they were getting stronger.  It is important to remember that strength is not a luxury as we age but is something that can be improved and maintained.

This research shows that resistance exercise is absolutely necessary for longevity and health, and this change CAN happen at the genetic level.  The moral of the story is that exercise, in particular resistance exercise, is vitally important for healthy aging.

If you are planning on starting a new exercise program, or having a few niggles with your training a chiropractic assessment would be ideal to ensure you are functioning well and that you can get the most out of the exercise program.

The full article can be found at:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0000465

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