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Sedentary versus Athletic Legs - Keep Moving as You Age!

The journal, The Physician and Sports Medicine, compared the muscle properties of Masters athletes with those of sedentary adults in 2011. This article shared some interesting MRI images of leg muscles in aging athletes and non-athletes. The images showed that the older triathlete’s leg had about as much muscle (the darker material in the pictures) as that of younger triathletes, while the sedentary man’s leg had far less muscle⠀

🚴‍♂️ The researchers observed that these Masters competitors preserved muscle mass even as they aged. The results showed that mid-thigh muscle mass and lean mass did not increase with age - but it didn’t decrease either. The older athletes seemed to maintain their muscle mass even though their body fat increased, relative to the younger competitors in the study. That’s how we often think about age-related muscle loss: “If you don’t use it, you lose it!”⠀

🏃‍♀️ These observations suggest that body fat was accumulating in places other than within the muscles, which is better for maintaining muscle strength. In other words, this study contradicts previous thoughts that all of us will lose muscle mass and strength simply by growing older. Instead, the authors argue, the muscles atrophy because they aren’t being used. This also suggests that if more people stress their muscles as they age, it may reduce the physical decline, falls and loss of independence that frustrates and slows down many seniors⠀

📖 Reference: Wroewski, A., et. al. Chronic Exercise Preserves Lean Muscle Mass in Masters Athletes. The Physician and Sportsmedicine. Volume: 39, No 3. ⠀

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