Researchers now have the physical evidence to show why its important for older people to exercise. And it comes with the discovery that, in aging racehorses, regular aerobic workouts decreased the prevalence of muscle damage that can be caused by exertion.
Mammalian skeletal muscle tissue is the same regardless of which species of mammal it is in, said Steven Devor, the studys lead author and an assistant professor of exercise science education at Ohio State University.
He and his colleagues studied the effects of aerobic exercise – in this case, galloping on a treadmill – on small sections of skeletal muscle tissue taken from the limbs of retired racehorses. The findings support a “use-it-or-lose-it” philosophy: After 10 weeks of regular workouts, the horses muscles showed fewer signs of damage caused by exertion, even after the horses worked out at their maximum capacity.The results apply to humans and are especially important for older adults, Devor said."We have to work at keeping muscle mass as we age, otherwise that mass wastes away," he said. "This weakness leaves a muscle more prone to injury even when its the least bit exerted. Also, joints are less likely to break if the musculature surrounding them is strong."
Holly Wagner | EurekAlert!
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