Mitochondria

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How to reverse age-related energy decline

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Mitochondria, found in most cells, is where respiration and energy production takes place. As we age mitochondria become impaired and energy production declines. A study sought to determine if high-intensity interval training (HIIT) could reverse that trend.

Two groups did HIIT workouts for 12 weeks - men and women ages 18 to 30 and men and women ages 65 to 80. From this article about the study, High-Intensity Interval Training Helps Slow Down the Aging Process the results:

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The best exercise for aging muscles

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As we age muscles weaken, cell damage accumulates, and mitochondria, which produce energy, decline in number and energy output. A study sought to determine what type of exercise might best repair that mitochondria damage.

The study was composed of two groups, men and women under thirty and men and women over 64. Subjects were further divided into four sub-groups. Each group did one of the following exercise regimens for 12 weeks:

  • Vigorous weight lifting
  • Moderate bike riding plus light weight lifting
  • Interval training on a bike
  • Those who did nothing

As would be expected weight lifters experienced gains in muscle and strength, and the bike interval trainers increased endurance. Unexpectedly were the changes measured in the cells. From the NYT article reporting on the study, The Best Exercise for Aging Muscles - NYTimes.com, this quote:

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Your mother infected you with an alien

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Your body is an amazing feat of construction.Ten trillion living cells all working together to make you. All the instructions required to build the You that You became are encoded in your DNA. Forty-Six chromosomes containing more than 25,000 genes have all the instructions required to build a human. Except…Nothing in your DNA explains how to make fuel for the engines that run inside you. Imagine if we had 1000 car manufacturers making millions of cars but no gasoline refineries. A car without fuel is just… art.

The fuel you need is call Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). For your cells to move, grow, repair, and reproduce they need ATP. To make your muscles move you need ATP, but your DNA doesn’t have any instructions for making ATP.

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Strength training study shows seniors improving far more than younger set

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Two groups of men and women strength trained for six months. One group was older and the other younger. At the start of the study the older group was 59% weaker than the younger group. After six months the older adults were only 38% weaker than younger adults. Both groups improved, but the older group improved much more. 

From this study Resistance Exercise Reverses Aging in Human Skeletal Muscle

“We conclude that healthy older adults show evidence of mitochondrial impairment and muscle weakness, but that this can be partially reversed at the phenotypic level, and substantially reversed at the transcriptome level, following six months of resistance exercise training”.

Mitochondria, found in most cells, is where respiration and energy production takes place. Six months of strength training partially reversed mitochondria impairments to a level consistent with a younger stage in life. It is like having a fountain of youth.

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