As we age we lose muscle; this sends our weight soaring and our blood pressure rising. Nothing is worse then being a stick in your youth, then slowly gaining weight as you age. The problems with slow weight gain is that most people have a hard time changing their body composition at a fast rate in their later years. Don’t get me wrong… it definitely can be done! It’s now been found that one of the main causes for muscle loss in the elderly and as we age isn’t necessarily due to changes in our hormones but also to circulation!
The results were clear,” explained Michael Rennie, a professor of clinical physiology at the University of Nottingham. “The younger people’s muscles were able to use insulin we gave to stop the muscle breakdown, which had increased during the night. The muscles in the older people could not.” The researchers also noticed during the course of the study that the blood flow in the leg was greater in the younger people than the older people. This suggests that the supply rate of nutrients and hormones is lower in the older people and may explain why muscle wasting occurs, says Rennie.
In a follow-up study, the research team found that three exercise sessions a week over 20 weeks was enough to reverse muscle wasting by increasing blood flow to the legs of older people to a level identical to the younger group (source).
This research should give older gym goers more incentive to workout. Don’t forget that circulation isn’t just about how much you exercise, but also what you eat.