Even if you’ve never worked out before, you have the same potential to develop muscle as a world-class athlete.
Why It Is Never Too Late to Start Exercising
Jim Owen noticed his lucrative but sedentary Wall Street profession harmed his health when he was 70 years old. That’s when Owen, 79, next month, started working out.
In “Just Move! A New Approach to Health After 50," he detailed his experience as an older person rediscovering his physical fitness.
Now, new research published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology confirms what Owen saw firsthand: Even if you’ve never worked out frequently and are older, your physique may still develop muscle mass.
Source - Quinn_Chen
Fitness In Later Life
A group of researchers from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom compared men’s capacity to gain muscle mass. They divided the participants into two groups: those over 60 who exercised at least twice a week for at least 20 years and those who did not have a regular fitness programme.
Individuals had a muscle biopsy 48 hours before drinking an isotope tracer drink and engaging in a weight training session, followed by another biopsy afterwards. The drink allowed the researchers to see how proteins formed inside the muscle.
Both groups were equally capable of gaining muscle in response to the workout.
“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," Leigh Breen, PhD, a lecturer at the institution, was the lead researcher.
“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," he said.
Despite being fitter, the avid exercisers’ bodies generated protein at the same pace as the untrained individuals when it came to the particular resistance training exercise utilised, according to Joe Masiello, a trainer and co-founder of Focus Personal Training Institute in New York City, who told Healthline.
“Physiologically, younger subjects have a greater advantage to building muscle than older subjects," Masiello said.
To prevent plateauing, regardless of age, increasing load is necessary. That implies you must regularly apply appropriate stimulation (or workout stress) and variation to develop — not simply retain — muscle continuously.
How Exercise Works
Jason Karp, a running coach at Run-Fit and REVO₂LUTION RUNNING in California, told Healthline that the athletes saw the effects because the body responds to physical stress at any age.
When the body is subjected to a stimulus, it adapts to cope with the stress. Actin and myosin are the two primary proteins found within muscles that control muscular contraction. They rise while we exercise, resulting in more protein being produced and muscles becoming more muscular.
“The process of building muscle begins the second that you ask your muscles to do something challenging and unfamiliar, whether that’s picking up a dumbbell, performing a push-up, or sprinting on a treadmill," Jamie Hickey, a personal trainer from Pennsylvania tells Healthline.
Muscle cells, or fibres, are damaged due to exercise stress. As the body heals them, they become more prominent than before, resulting in muscular growth.
In short, the degree of expertise of the exerciser is unimportant as long as the resistance or exercise is rigorous.
“If the muscle is challenged, it will change," Tom Holland, an exercise physiologist and certified sports nutritionist from Connecticut told Healthline.
“In the beginning weeks of starting a new workout routine, the majority of strength gains aren’t actually a result of this muscle protein synthesis and hypertrophy. Rather, they are a result of the body’s neurological system learning when and how to fire the needed muscle cells," Hickey said.
For instance, when you execute a bench press for the first time, your arms aren’t entirely in rhythm, and the weights may waver slightly from side to side. However, by the second or third set of that same exercise, the practice becomes a bit smoother, he says.
“That’s your neurological system at work," Hickey said.
Starting A Workout Routine
Where should novices start if they want to pursue working out regularly?
“Find where your starting point is and progress slowly and systematically, adding a little stress at a time over many months," Karp said.
People who are new to exercising may be unsure about what to do to have a decent exercise or attempt to do it excessively the first time. This is why seeing a doctor or working with a trainer or both may be quite useful.
“Many adults just don’t know where to start with strength training or exercise in general," Morgan Nolte, PhD, a geriatric physical therapy expert from Nebraska tells Healthline.
“They know it’s good for them but are fearful of getting hurt, especially if they have a preexisting condition — which is common in older adults — like high blood pressure, back pain, or a joint replacement," she said.
Keep in mind the changes that occur when someone in their 40s starts working out regularly vs someone in their 60s or 70s.
Because the maximal heart rate declines with age, a 40-year-old will be able to begin at a greater intensity or undertake more exercise. When compared to someone starting to exercise in their 60s or 70s, a younger individual will most likely have more minor health difficulties to cope with.
Anybody of any age can start working out routinely. Physical exercise can benefit us all. According to Nolte, activities may be tailored to the person’s preference, making them accessible to anyone trying.
It’s also critical to emphasise the mental advantages of exercise, particularly for elderly seniors prone to depression, she says.
“Keep it simple," Masiello said. “Many people feel overwhelmed that they don’t know what to do, or don’t have the time, so they don’t do anything at all. They do not have to spend an hour in the gym, do a host of complicated exercises, or purchase complicated fitness trackers."
He says that the most crucial aspect of developing an exercise habit is consistency. Once you’ve gotten into the practice, including exercise in your daily routine, you may tweak the time, intensity, and kind as needed.
Holland feels that it is critical to begin gradually.
“You need not go to the gym or do hour-long sessions, either," Holland said. “Minutes matter. Studies have shown that three 10-minute bouts of exercise have the same benefits as one continuous 30-minute session.“
“It’s absolutely never too late to start," Masiello said. “People who begin exercising later in life can’t believe how much better they look and feel. Especially when chronic pains they’ve had for years disappear. Exercise is medicine.“