New Thoughts on The Body’s Response to Exercise
An Australian study published in Cell Metabolism (Jan. 2018) hypothesized that the cells communicate with each other in response to physical activity. Vesicles, tiny protein-filled packages, “contain genetic material and proteins that carry messages to other parts” of the body that all have connections to the liver.
When subjects cycled for about an hour, there was an increase of 300 ‘message-carrying proteins’ compared to the number in non-exercisers.
A Mayo Clinic study of 72 volunteers under 30 and over the age of 64 were divided into 4 groups: weight training, intervals on real bikes, moderate stationary cycling for 30 minutes with light weight lifting on alternate days. Intervals boosted gene activity for those under 30 by 274 genes; for those over 64 it gave them a nearly 400 genes boost! These results led to the conclusion that intense exercise corrects cellular aging.
Finally Penn State researchers found that strength training twice a week for 5 years reduced the odds of dying during the next 15 years! FIFTEEN years of extra life for only 2 hours/week. That is, it conferred a protective benefit against cardiac and cancer deaths beyond what strength and physical function you’d expect.
In light of a new though not formally recognized finding of a new organ – the interstitium, a liquid-filled sac between cells – it may just be that exercise is the high-speed network between cells that reduces cellular aging and increases life expectancy.
Duke HealthNews Apr. 2018
Getting Old? Getting Weak? Get a Good Lifting Program
Sarcopenia = loss of muscle mass due to aging. After 30, on average, we lose 8% – 10%/decade of our muscle mass. Likely the combined result of disuse, neurobiology and physiology, this predisposes us after the age of 60 to a variety of lifestyle risks for obesity, heart disease, fragile bones, instability and falls.
Resistance training (RT) has been shown beneficial in reducing the rate of muscle loss if it’s sufficiently strenuous enough so long as it does not cause muscle monotony or soreness. We’ve written about the benefits of RT for older folks here, here,and here, but not specifically about whether and what kind of training program works to minimize soreness and tedium. Periodization – dividing a workout program into progressive blocks with built-in rest phases – works well for young athletes; does it work for older adults?
A study reported on a 22-week, 3/week RT program for 3 different groups of older subjects: NP (not periodized), BP (block periodized) and UN (undulating, daily periodized) training. Other studies have demonstrated that older adults may not need to periodize to see health benefits. This study’s hypothesis, however, was that BP and UN would enhance the gains and the overall experience of the subjects.
Contrary to what was expected, despite statistical group differences in volume load (how many and what weights were lifted), session monotony and strain or soreness, “perceived tolerance and enjoyment were similar across groups.”
The authors concluded that “periodization strategies do not appear to impact perceived tolerance or enjoyment” of weight training for the elderly. It was suggested that “the impact of the training environment (i.e. trainers and peers) on the overall efficacy of RT interventions” means that “trainers should foster a friendly, supportive and motivating environment…to enhance long-term adherence…and adaptations.”