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As good as it gets: Octogenarian muscles don't get stronger with exercise
Date:3/30/2009

n and women are far less responsive to improving with exercise, even compared to people only 10 years younger.

"The message of the study is that exercise is good for octogenarians, just not as good as we thought it would be," Dr. Trappe said. The study also suggests that it is better to build as much muscle mass as possible earlier in life to ensure more muscle strength in later life. "We should do all we can to educate people to build up the muscle before 80," he said.

Next steps

Muscle atrophy relates not only to aging, but to people whose muscles are immobilized for a period and even for astronauts who spend long periods of time in space. Dr. Trappe, who also does research on astronauts, next wants to begin to uncover the physiological basis for why the muscles of octogenarians do not gain strength with resistance exercise.

His team may be able to build on two intriguing findings from the current study:

  • while the octogenarian women had many fewer muscle fibers, the fibers they did have were large and healthy looking
  • the genes involved in muscle growth are present in the resting muscle of the octogenarians at much higher levels compared to young people.

These results suggest that the octogenarian muscle is already operating at peak capacity and may not have the potential for better performance, Dr. Trappe said. If these mechanisms can be understood, it may be possible to find ways to strengthen older muscles.


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Contact: Christine Guilfoy
cguilfoy@the-aps.org
301-634-7253
American Physiological Society
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3

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