Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Anything is better than nothing

When we think of old people, often a typical image comes to our mind: a bold man or a white-haired woman, skinny and full of wrinkles, who has trouble walking, who needs a stick or walker, and is unable to carry shopping bags home. Will all of us eventually arrive at this stage?

Recent research says that we can do a lot more than we think to be fit when getting old. In a recent blog post, we learned that our muscles can still grow when we are over 60 years of age. We also learned that we do not only benefit physically from weight lifting, but also mentally. Now a research study suggests that exercise can keep us young.

Mark Tarnopolsky from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada conducted a study with mice in which some of them exercised running in a wheel, while others did not. The latter showed clear signs of ageing, whilst the former maintained their muscle and brain mass and were a lot fitter altogether. This was the case even though the mice had a genetic mutation that leads to early ageing. The researcher sees the reason for this in cellular mechanisms.


The original article can be found here.

This study is in line with other research indicating that exercising really contributes to remaining physically and mentally fit during ageing. When asked how much exercise was necessary, Dr. Tarnopolsky replied: “Anything is better than nothing.” That is good news. We do not have to exercise a couple of hours every week. Even taking the stairs instead of the lift or riding our bike instead of our car when we go to work can be beneficial. Anything is better than nothing.

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