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A new study shows it's never too late to begin strength building
Exercise newbies in their seventies and eighties build muscle at the same rate as master athletes.
- Researchers at the University of Birmingham compared master athletes in their seventies and eighties with non-exercising seniors.
- Regardless of previous conditioning levels, the seniors' ability to create new muscle is the same.
- This inspiring news is an important reminder that fitness gains are possible at any age.
Humans are aging. Of course, this is the natural biological course, but entire societies are getting older, causing concern among governments. Increased older populations result in higher health care costs and less productive work forces. Yet none of this implies that we must go quietly into the night. Good health is negotiable, if you're willing to put in the work.
There are many domains once reserved for the young that aging adults now recognize as accessible. Maintaining a healthy body and mind well into old age is one. For example, one yoga teacher I used to study with just turned 101, and she still regularly teaches classes. As more research is conducted on the effects of exercise on aging populations, the more good news there is to share.
Silicon Valley might be focused on defeating aging, yet for those of us that cannot afford hundreds of thousands of dollars for unproven vitamin regimens, a new study, published in Frontiers in Physiology, found that building muscle mass in your seventies and eighties is just as possible for non-exercisers as master athletes. As the study states,
"Our findings demonstrate that long-term highly active MA [master athletes], habitually completing ∼4–5 sessions of structured endurance exercise training a week (totaling ∼8 h), do not display a greater capacity to upregulate iMyoPS with an unaccustomed exercise stimulus compared with healthy OC [older controls] with no history of endurance exercise training."
Strength Workout For Seniors - An Introduction To Weights For Seniors - (10 Minutes)]
Gone is the excuse "I'm too old to exercise." A research team at the University of Birmingham gave isotope tracers to two groups, one comprised of lifting newbies and the others of athletes that have trained their entire lives (and still compete). Each group then completed a single exercise session on a machine.
The team, led by Dr. Leigh Breen, compared each participant's resting and exercise-induced states over a 48-hour period, focusing on integrated myofibrillar protein synthesis (iMyoPS). Initially, the researchers believed seasoned athletes would have an increased ability to build muscle over their sedentary counterparts. That turned out not to be the case.
To be clear, athletes exhibit greater markers of strength, VO2max, and overall conditioning, which is to be expected. The purpose of this study was to discover if unconditioned seniors could build muscle at the same rate as their conditioned peers. As Breen puts it,
"Our study clearly shows that it doesn't matter if you haven't been a regular exerciser throughout your life, you can still derive benefit from exercise whenever you start. Obviously a long term commitment to good health and exercise is the best approach to achieve whole-body health, but even starting later on in life will help delay age-related frailty and muscle weakness."
Yoga Master Tao Porchon-Lynch instructs a yoga class January 16, 2017 in Hartsdale, New York. She recently turned 101 and is still teaching regular classes.
Photo: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images
Sarcopenia is another consequence of time: as we grow older, we lose skeletal muscle mass. Resistance training is a necessary response to this biological destiny. Forcing your body to bear a load—to carry water from the river or fix a thatched roof—was not a choice for most of human existence. Conveniences in modern life have allowed us to become sedentary, which we'll always going to pay the price for unless we purposefully fight against it.
As Breen notes, there are many ways to integrate resistance training into your life. Not all of them require ripping out sets at the gym. Daily activities such as carrying groceries (and grandchildren) help offset physical decline. The key is structure.
While every individual requires a different movement diet for optimal fitness, some form of regular routine is beneficial both physically and mentally. One of the top excuses I've heard over many years of teaching group fitness is that "I just don't know what to do." Fortunately there is an easy remedy, given the endless amount of free content available on Youtube and Instagram (or for more targeted routines, by hiring a trainer). Goal-setting is important in life but essential when it comes to exercise routines.
Fitness is important throughout life, especially given evidence of excess health care costs that could be avoided if we ate better and moved more. This new addition to the literature is a small contribution with big consequences. Just 15 participants were tested over one session. It is likely that larger sample sizes would produce similar results, though we won't be sure until those studies are conducted.
The result of this study, however, reminds us that it's never too late to begin exercising. Any excuse to the contrary can likely be changed. It's a good thing that minds are designed to be malleable, just like bodies.
This storm rained electrons, shifted energy from the sun's rays to the magnetosphere, and went unnoticed for a long time.
- An international team of scientists has confirmed the existence of a "space hurricane" seven years ago.
- The storm formed in the magnetosphere above the North magnetic pole.
- The storm posed to risk to life on Earth, though it might have interfered with some electronics.
What do you call that kind of storm when it forms over the Arctic ocean?<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8GqnzBJkWcw" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p> Many objects in space, like Earth, the Sun, most of the planets, and even some large moons, have magnetic fields. The area around these objects which is affected by these fields is known as the magnetosphere.</p><p>For us Earthlings, the magnetosphere is what protects us from the most intense cosmic radiation and keeps the solar wind from affecting our atmosphere. When charged particles interact with it, we see the aurora. Its fluctuations lead to changes in what is known as "space weather," which can impact electronics. </p><p>This "space hurricane," as the scientists are calling it, was formed by the interactions between Earth's magnetosphere and the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interplanetary_magnetic_field" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">interplanetary magnetic field,</a> the part of the sun's magnetosphere that goes out into the solar system. It took on the familiar shape of a cyclone as it followed magnetic fields. For example, the study's authors note that the numerous arms traced out the "footprints of the reconnected magnetic field lines." It rotated counter-clockwise with a speed of nearly 7,000 feet per second. The eye, of course, was still and <a href="https://www.sciencealert.com/for-the-first-time-a-plasma-hurricane-has-been-detected-in-space" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">calm</a>.</p><p>The storm, which was invisible to the naked eye, rained electrons and shifted energy from space into the ionosphere. It seems as though such a thing can only form under calm situations when large amounts of energy are moving between the solar wind and the upper <a href="https://www.reading.ac.uk/news-and-events/releases/PR854520.aspx" target="_blank">atmosphere</a>. These conditions were modeled by the scientists using 3-D <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-21459-y#Sec10" target="_blank">imaging</a>.<br><br>Co-author Larry Lyons of UCLA explained the process of putting the data together to form the models to <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/space-hurricane-rained-electrons-observed-first-time-rcna328" target="_blank">NBC</a>:<br><br>"We had various instruments measuring various things at different times, so it wasn't like we took a big picture and could see it. The really fun thing about this type of work is that we had to piece together bits of information and put together the whole picture."<br><br>He further mentioned that these findings were completely unexpected and that nobody that even theorized a thing like this could exist. <br></p><p>While this storm wasn't a threat to any life on Earth, a storm like this could have noticeable effects on space weather. This study suggests that this could have several effects, including "increased satellite drag, disturbances in High Frequency (HF) radio communications, and increased errors in over-the-horizon radar location, satellite navigation, and communication systems."</p><p>The authors <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-21459-y#Sec8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">speculate</a> that these "space hurricanes" could also exist in the magnetospheres of other planets.</p><p>Lead author Professor Qing-He Zhang of Shandong University discussed how these findings will influence our understanding of the magnetosphere and its changes with <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-03/uor-sho030221.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">EurekaAlert</a>:</p><p>"This study suggests that there are still existing local intense geomagnetic disturbance and energy depositions which is comparable to that during super storms. This will update our understanding of the solar wind-magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling process under extremely quiet geomagnetic conditions."</p>
Research reveals a new evolutionary feature that separates humans from other primates.
- Researchers find a new feature of human evolution.
- Humans have evolved to use less water per day than other primates.
- The nose is one of the factors that allows humans to be water efficient.
A model of water turnover for humans and chimpanzees who have similar fat free mass and body water pools.
Credit: Current Biology
Being skeptical isn't just about being contrarian. It's about asking the right questions of ourselves and others to gain understanding.
- It's not always easy to tell the difference between objective truth and what we believe to be true. Separating facts from opinions, according to skeptic Michael Shermer, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, and others, requires research, self-reflection, and time.
- Recognizing your own biases and those of others, avoiding echo chambers, actively seeking out opposing voices, and asking smart, testable questions are a few of the ways that skepticism can be a useful tool for learning and growth.
- As Derren Brown points out, being "skeptical of skepticism" can also lead to interesting revelations and teach us new things about ourselves and our psychology.