The best exercise for aging muscles

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:

“Among the younger subjects who went through interval training, the activity levels had changed in 274 genes, compared with 170 genes for those who exercised more moderately and 74 for the weight lifters. Among the older cohort, almost 400 genes were working differently now, compared with 33 for the weight lifters and only 19 for the moderate exercisers.”

Another quote:

“It seems as if the decline in the cellular health of muscles associated with aging was 'corrected' with exercise, especially if it was intense.”

At Austin Personal Trainers and New Orleans Personal Trainers we specialize in high intensity interval training (HIIT) for strength - one integrated workout combining strength training and interval training. The workout increases strength and endurance, and reverses mitochondria impairments to a level consistent with a younger stage in life. It is like having a fountain of youth. People of any age can benefit from this workout. We also have clients do interval training on stationary bikes. Past blog posts onmitochondria and a post on bike interval training.