Don't Put Off Exercise: Your Aging Muscles Will Thank You

If you are reading this blog you probably already know about the benefits of exercise. You probably exercise regularly. Do you need another reason to get yourself off the couch and to the gym?

Everyone needs a little nudge once in a while. Here's another one: LiveScience recently outlined interesting information about aging muscles, detailed in a European journal titled, EMBO Molecular Medicine. The study found that those who had old muscle, aged between 68 and 74 years, had a difficult time repairing that muscle after it was immobilized for two weeks. While younger participants were able to easily rebuild muscle and restore function, the older participants had more difficulty. Moreover, the mere two weeks of immobilization resulted in scar tissue formation and inflammation.

So what is the moral of the story? Begin exercise when you are young and keep it up as you age. Taking off as little as two weeks from your exercise program will drastically affect your muscle tone and function as you age.

Don't worry. You need not wield 50 pound dumbbells and bench press 150 pounds in order to gain muscle mass. In fact, Amy Ashmore of ACE Certified News, writes that new research from the November 2008 issue of Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research indicates that "low-intensity resistance training can yield the same benefits as high-intensity resistance training." Choose loads that are comfortable for you. Don't compromise form for added resistance, and remember that your options stem beyond traditional strength training. Pilates and yoga offer unique and challenging classes designed to strengthen muscle without undue stress on the joints.

Now get out there.

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