The Fountain of Youth is in the Gym

Sensei Post in Articles of Interest

It turns out that an increasing amount of evidence is showing that the Fountain of Youth is actually at the Gym or Dojo!
New research shows that strength training helps to keep muscle tissue younger. A study published in the online journal PLoS One (full report here) examined the affects of strength training on gene expression profile in muscles of older adults. Genes hold the instructions from which the body manufactures proteins; gene expression refers to the processes that translate these instructions into proteins. By analyzing small samples of muscle tissue from a group of healthy young and older adults (25 healthy men and women older then 65 and 26 healthy adults 20 to 35 with similar diet and exercise habits), researchers found that younger and older muscle tissue differ significantly in their gene expression profiles. What this means is the older muscles demonstrate an impaired mitochondria (the cell’s powerhouse). The research goes on to demonstrate that the impaired function is reversible with strength training. Fourteen of the older adults were given strength training two days a week for 6 months after which time the gene expression profile demonstrated more youthful traits. “In a very real sense, the muscle was younger,” said lead study author Dr. Simon Melov of the Buck Institute for Age Research in Novato, California. Experts have long known that exercise is good for younger and older adults alike, Melov told Reuters, but the new findings suggest that it can “actually rejuvenate muscle” in older individuals. Currently it is unknown if other forms if aerobic exercise, like walking or cycling, has similar effects on muscle or other types of body tissue.
It is amazing that we have to read a study like this to know the obvious! It is interesting to understand the mechanics of how exercise makes our bodies (and spirits) last longer and be healthier but is it necessary? I guess for many people it is. Look at some of the very old people who practice Tai Chi, other Martial Arts or those who just exercise regularly. The hard part for many people is getting started and sticking with an exercise program. The hard part for many Martial Artists is finding a balance between technique and conditioning. Regardless of your style you should be exercising outside of the Dojo, training really can be a lot of fun and very personally rewarding, though I will be the first to admit that the older one gets the more challenging it can be to find the time and stick to a good regiment. Regardless of how much or how little you manage to exercise though one thing is clear from common-sense and current research…some exercise is better then none AND it is never to late to take that first step and start exercising!

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