Strength Training- The Fountain of Youth
Originally Written in 2009
Ponce de Leon searched for it. Plastic surgeons try to reverse the appearance of aging. However until now there really was no fountain of youth. The fountain of youth was thought to be a myth. The reality is it’s not about drinking from the fountain but, lifting the bricks the fountain is made of.
Researchers at McMaster University ( yes, the same school that brought us our landmark interval study), have made an amazing discovery. A research team led by Dr Simon Melov from McMaster University Medical Centre in Hamilton, Ontario studied muscle tissue at the cellular level via biopsy . The study compared the muscle tissue of a group of twenty-five subjects over sixty five to a group of subjects with an average age of twenty two. The over-sixty-five group strength trained two days a week for six months and the biopsies were repeated. The results were nothing short of astounding. At a cellular level the muscle tissue had changed. Nearly one third of the sixty-five year old tissue had undergone a genetic change and now resembled the tissue of the twenty-two year old group.
Dr. Simon Melov, Director of Genomics at the Buck Institute in Novato, California stated, “The genetic fingerprint (of the elderly participants) was reversed to that of younger people — not entirely, but enough to say that their genetic profile was more like that of young people than old people,” said.
In other words, strength training had in effect reversed the effects of aging. Gerontologists have been studying the aging process and are always looking for ways to reverse the aging process. Much of the research has centered on passive modes using hormones etc.. It now appears that passive methods have less of a future than good old fashioned hard work.
Many in the field have pointed to the benefits of strength training for the elderly however, the evidence has never been so clear and pointed.
The results of the study appear in the May 23 edition of the on-line, open access journal PLoS One.