Older people who have never taken part in exercise programmes have the same ability to build muscle mass as highly trained master athletes of a similar age, researchers have found.
“Our study clearly shows that it doesn’t matter if you haven’t been a regular exerciser throughout your life, you can still derive benefit from exercise whenever you start.
“Obviously a long term commitment to good health and exercise is the best approach to achieve whole-body health, but even starting later on in life will help delay age-related frailty and muscle weakness,” study lead researcher Leigh Breen from the University of Birmingham said.
The study, published in Frontiers in Physiology, compared muscle-building ability in two groups of older men. The first group was classed as ‘master athletes’ with seven people in their 70s and 80s who are lifelong exercisers and still competing at top levels in their sport.
In the second group, eight were healthy individuals of a similar age, who had never participated in structured exercise programmes.