Exercise as You Age: Your Muscles Will Thank You!

Staying active as you age has sometimes been called the real fountain of youth, but how much do we know about how staying active helps slow aging? Several studies have suggested that pumping iron as you age can do things like improve the genes inside muscle cells. A recent study shows more benefits to the directive of “exercise as you age.”

Muscles Benefit When You Exercise as You Age

Past studies have shown some really interesting things with exercise and lifting weights and muscle cells. A 2012 study showed that exercise increases the number of stem cells in your muscles. This happens by the stem cells around blood vessels migrating into muscle to replace muscle stem cells.

We also know that the genes inside muscles are improved by exercise and lifting weights. In one 2015 study, exercise turned back the genetic clock by modifying genes so that they appeared younger. In another study, the muscle stem cells of elderly people who lifted weights were more genetically similar and their muscles more structurally similar to younger people.

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A New Study on the Elderly and Muscle Repair

The muscles of older people begin to lose stem cells. In every other tissue in the body, stem cells in the tissues are continuously active repairing that tissue, which is how you stay alive.

The new study looked at three groups of mice: old mice that were trained with exercise, old mice that were not exercise trained, and young mice that were not exercised. Changes in muscle repair with aging were discovered by injecting the old mice and young mice with small amounts of deadly snake venom. The study found that after only eight weeks of exercise, old mice experienced faster muscle repair and regained more muscle mass than those of the same age that were not exercise trained.

The upshot? Exercise may not be the fountain of youth to make your visage look younger, but it certainly seems that if you exercise as you age there are significant benefits for your body and muscles. Every aspect of your muscles from their genes, to gene modifications, to stem cells do better when you exercise. So get out there and hit the gym!

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

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NOTE: This blog post provides general information to help the reader better understand regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal health, and related subjects. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient profiles, outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.

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