As we get older, our muscles deteriorate and we become weaker. Not only can this be an immensely frustrating change, but it can also have many other, more serious implications. We become clumsier and begin to have more falls, often resulting in broken bones or even more severe injuries.
There is wide interest in this phenomenon and now one study, led by Dr Alexandra Sänger from the University of Salzburg, is examining the effects of different exercise regimes in menopausal women, with the aim of developing new strategies for delaying and reducing the initial onset of age related muscle deterioration.
Dr Sänger's research group investigated two methods of physical training and presented their findings at the Society for Experimental Biology's Annual Meeting. The first, hypertrophy resistance training, is a traditional approach designed to induce muscle growth whereas the second regime, SuperSlow®, is a more recently devised system which involves much slower movement and fewer repetitions of exercises, and was originally introduced especially for rehabilitation.
"Our results indicate that both methods increase muscle mass at the expense of connective and fatty tissue, but contrary to expectations, the SuperSlow® method appears to have the greatest effect," revealed Dr Sänger. "These findings will be used to design specific exercise programs for everyday use to reduce the risk of injury and thus significantly contribute to a better quality of life in old age."
The study focused on groups of menopausal women aged 45-55 years, the age group in which muscle deterioration first starts to become apparent. Groups undertook supervised regimes over 12 weeks, based on each of the training methods. "The results of our experiments have significantly improved our understanding of how muscles respond to different forms of exercise," asserts Dr Sänger. "We believe that the changes that this new insight can bring to current training systems will have a considerable effect on the lives of both menopausal and older women," she concludes.
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Source: Society for Experimental Biology