Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Build Muscle to Slow Aging Effects

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Build Muscle to Slow Aging Effects

Article excerpt

Byline: Wina Sturgeon Adventure Sports Weekly

CHICAGO - Forget the creams and the botox or even the viagra. Whether you're a man or a woman, the key to staying young is building muscle.

Scientists have studied many of the well-known effects of aging, and there's new agreement that much of the symptoms of age stem from loss of muscle tissue.

One of the biggest problems of getting older is that our metabolism slows down. This starts a nasty cycle: a slow metabolism means we have less energy. So you're less active, which has a predictable result: you gain weight. Being heavier makes it harder to move, so you move less - and gain more fat.

There's a solution to both the weight gain and slower metabolism that comes in middle age, and it's a simple one: lift weights to build muscle.

Unlike fat, which is fairly inert, muscle is active tissue. Blood runs through it; bringing in nutrients and carrying off waste. The heart must pump a greater volume of blood to adequately supply a more muscular person. Food is digested more efficiently to get energy to the muscles. In other words, muscle tissue speeds up the metabolism.

Some studies show that the metabolic slowdown of aging corresponds to the customary muscle loss of middle age. When there's not as much muscle needing to be fed and maintained, the metabolism can take it easy and back off.

The weight gain of middle age is also connected to that slowdown. When the body isn't running at high speed, it isn't burning kilojoules.

Those who eat the same amount of food at age 50 as they ate at age 20 will be well on the road to obesity by the time they become a senior citizen.

You may shudder at the thought of being a senior citizen, but when that time comes, you won't want to look, or feel, like a blob. Building muscle keeps the metabolic fires burning. …

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