Kahe Thik Dikhaye Thik

Exercise might reverse muscle aging in older adults, finds study

Scientists hope that understanding how exercise rejuvenates aged muscle at a molecular level will provide clues for anti-aging therapies.

Research shows that people who exercise regularly not only strengthen their muscles but also improve their overall health, regardless of how late in life they start.

For example, recent studies have found that exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s in older people.

Conversely, reductions in muscle mass and strength are associated with lower quality of life and higher mortality from all causes.

As a result of its proven ability to prevent and treat several chronic diseases at low cost, doctors have called exercise a drug- free “polypill” that can benefit nearly everyone.

Doctors opine that exercise should be considered a health-enhancing, potentially life-extending treatment, alongside medications and a healthy diet.

Scientists hope that a better understanding of how exercise rejuvenates aged muscles at a molecular level will provide clues for future anti-aging therapies.

Exercise may turn back the clock in muscle fibers by promoting the “epigenetic reprogramming” of chromosomes in the cells’ nuclei.

Epigenetics refers to how chemical changes affect the activity or “expression” of genes. For example, proteins called transcription factors can dial up the expression of particular genes when they bind to specific DNA sequences.

In 2012, Dr. Shinya Yamanaka shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his discovery that four transcription factors can revert specialized, mature cells to more youthful, flexible cells called “pluripotent” stem cells.

The four factors are called Oct3/4, Klf4, Sox2, and Myc, or OKSM for short.

In a new study whose results appear in The Journal of Physiology, Dr. Kevin Murach, assistant professor at the Exercise Science Research Center, University of Arkansas, and his colleagues compared the effects of OKSM factors on gene expression in the muscle fibers of mice that had access to an exercise wheel, and mice that had no access.

In addition, they compared the effects of OKSM factors on muscle with the effects of a single transcription factor, Myc. Scientists have found that exercise induces the expression of Myc to a greater extent than the other three factors.

The researchers also investigated how exercise alone affected gene expression in muscle fibers from both mice and humans. The mice were 22 months old, which is equivalent to a human age of around 73 years.

Mice in the exercise group were free to run on an unweighted wheel for the first week, then, over the next 8 weeks, the scientists made the wheel progressively heavier by attaching magnetic weights to it.

The results suggest that exercise reprograms muscle fibers to a more youthful state through increased expression of the genes that make Yamanaka factors, in particular Myc.

Exercise for older people

Exercise physiologists highly recommend low-impact, full-body workouts with a focus on lower body and core for those above the age of 70. Resistance training is not only suitable but highly recommended for those in their 70s and beyond. The key is starting slow and progressing slowly with consistency.

Walking is an activity that is recommended by exercise physiologists, along with resistance and mobility training. In terms of frequency, an older adult can walk every day, assuming they have no contraindications.

Strength training at least two days a week and mobility training, including stretching, every day is recommended in general.

You might also like
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.