I’m often asked by my clients if they are too old to start exercising. You know when somebody is asking you a question on the outside, but inside you know they are making a statement? …”I’m too old to start exercising now.”
However a new study has found that even if you’ve never worked out before, you still have the same ability as a world-class athlete to build muscle.
But experts caution that a gym novice may want to start off slowly to avoid injury.
Additionally, even small amounts of exercise can make a big difference to your health.
A team at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom compared the ability of men to build muscle mass. They looked at two groups: People older than 60 who exercised at least twice a week for at least 20 years, and those who didn’t have a consistent workout routine.
Participants had a muscle biopsy 48 hours before consuming an isotope tracer drink and conducting a weight training session, then another biopsy after finishing. The drink enabled the researchers to see how proteins were developing within the muscle. Both groups had equal abilities to build muscle in response to exercise.
“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,” said lead researcher Leigh Breen, PhD, a lecturer at the university.
While long term commitment and an early start is best approach to good health, starting at any age will strengthen your muscles and bones, give you a better quality of life and keep you from getting sick as often.
During the course of my life helping people train and eat right, I came across John, an 85-year-old man, riddled with arthritis in a wheelchair, that came to a health club under doctor’s order to see if he could better his condition. It took John a full year to lift one pound! However after that his recovery went at blinding speed and shortly, he no longer needed the wheelchair and was doing exercises with 20 to 25-pound weights, his posture improved, and his attitude became joyful and positive. Every day we waited for John to come into the gym and say, “Today was a good day…any day at my age is a good day if you wake up.”
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