The quick lesson here is that weall need to maintain a regular regimen that provides endurance exercises. This is generally opposite to what weanticipate in terms of strength training which is generally harder tomaintain. Perhaps that is why simplewalking seems to lead as an exercise regime.
Now if we could only figure out howto integrate a couple of hours every day of bucking firewood for upper body endurancewe would be good to go. Actually therowing machine seems the best bet.
If such simple regimes could thenbe integrated with a drug for promoting stem cell release then muscle recoveryand related bone recovery becomes plausible.
Weight training seems a lot lessimportant in light of this work, and the focus needs to switch to muscle groupendurance work.
TAUuncovers muscle-stem cell mechanism in aging
Working out can help you shed pounds — butthat's just the beginning. New research fromTel
Aviv University has found that "enduranceexercises," like a Central Park jog or aspinning class, can make us look younger. The key, exercise, unlocks the stemcells of our muscles.
Prof. Dafna Benayahu and her team at Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine say their findings explain for the firsttime why older people who have exercised throughout their lives age moregracefully. They have discovered how endurance exercise increases the number ofmuscle stem cells and enhances their ability to rejuvenate old muscles. Theresearchers hope their finding can lead to a new drug to help the elderly andimmobilized heal their muscles faster.
The results of the study were recentlypublished in the journal PLoS ONE.
The real rat race
The muscles and skeleton inour bodies work together, explains Prof. Benayahu. "When we age, weexperience sarcopenia, a decline in mass and function of muscles, andosteopenia referrers to bone loss," she says. As a result, ourmusculoskeletal system is more susceptible to daily wear and tear, which alsoexplains the increased risk of falling in the elderly.
Investigating a rat population, Dr. Gabi Shefer from the research team says that thefinding shows that exercise increased the number of satellite cells (musclestem cells) — a number which normally declines with aging. The researchersbelieve that a decline in the number of these cells and their functionality mayprevent proper maintenance of muscle mass and its ability to repair itself,leading to muscle deterioration.
Comparing the performance ofrats of different ages and sexes, they found that the number of satellite cellsincreased after rats ran on a treadmill for 20 minutes a day for a 13-weekperiod. The younger rats showed a 20% to 35% increase in the average number ofstem cells per muscle fiber retained — and older rats benefited even moresignificantly, exhibiting a 33% to 47% increase in stem cells.
A good reason to get up and dance
Endurance exercise alsoimproved the levels of "spontaneous locomotion" — the feeling thattells our bodies to just get up and dance — of old rats. Aging is typicallyassociated with a reduced level of spontaneous locomotion.
The combination of aging anda sedentary lifestyle significantly contributes to the development of diseasessuch as osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, as well asa decline in cognitive abilities. If researchers can discover a method to"boost" satellite cells in our muscles, that could simulate theperformance of young and healthy muscles — and hold our aging bones in place.
"We hope to understandthe mechanisms for the activation codes of muscle stem cells at the molecularlevel," says Prof. Benayahu. "With this advance, we can let ourselvesdream about creating a new drug for humans — one that could increase musclemass and ameliorate the negative effects of aging."
Grants for this study wereprovided by the EU-FP7 Excell project; the Israeli Ministry of Health; and theU.S. – Israel Binational Science Foundation jointly with Prof. Yablonka-Reuvenifrom the University of Washington.
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