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Resistance Exercise Turns Back The Clock For Elderly Trainees

October 21, 2009

During the fall, I have a handful of retired clients return from summering in less hot climates. They always, always, always bring back a few aches and pains, often attributing it to aging. Certainly some of this is true, but how we feel depends on a host of factors including muscular size and strength. Muscles truely are the motors of youth as is shown in a study from Tufts University:

We conclude that high-resistance weight training leads to significant gains in muscle strength, size, and functional mobility among frail residents of nursing homes up to 96 years of age.

96 years old! How amazing is that?

Genetics Do Not Equal Destiny

“Sure,” a client may say, “but they’re genetically different.” And to that I say 2 things:

  1. Of course.
  2. And that doesn’t matter one bit.

Here’s what I mean: the genes that make you who you are did not stop working when you were born. Genes are If-Then switches that are constantly being modulated. So if you are active consistently, you’ll stay stronger and younger as you age also shown in this study:

We conclude that healthy older adults show evidence of mitochondrial impairment and muscle weakness, but that this can be partially reversed at the phenotypic level, and substantially reversed at the transcriptome level, following six months of resistance exercise training.

The phenotype is the expression of your genes through the environment you place them in. So genes + environment = phenotype. You can’t change your genes but you can change the environment in which you live. This includes how you move, how you think, how you eat…they all express certain genetic switches. It’s the only thing in your power to control.

So strength training dramatically decreases aging through gene expression. It won’t stop everything that comes with aging but it certainly will add life to your years!


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