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Elderly who had active lives still the beat the youngsters

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Use it or lose it—people who were physically active throughout their lives still had better muscles when they were elderly than young people who didn’t exercise.

Even after they reach the age of 68, lifelong exercisers can still outperform sedentary younger people in resistance tests.

But they need to have been active to ‘recreational levels’, say researchers, and regularly participated in ball games, racket sports, swimming, cycling or running.

Those who are active throughout their adult life maintain healthy muscle tissue into old age, say researchers from the University of Copenhagen.  They tested the muscles of three groups of 48 adults, including 15 who were young and inactive, 16 who were aged 68 and older and were lifelong exercisers, and 15 who were also elderly, but sedentary.

The three groups were put through heavy resistance exercises, and those who were elderly and lifelong exercisers had the healthiest muscles, based on blood samples taken from the legs.  The average age of the elderly participants was 73.

(Source: Journal of Physiology, 2022; doi: 10.113/JP282677)

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