Loughborough campus is always full of people sporting Lycra, carrying their protein shakers and looking as though they should be gracing the cover of Men’s Health magazine. Exercise has always been considered to be great for health, keeping your blood pressure low and warning off numerous diseases.

Yet research completed by Loughborough University Professor Jamie Timmons, has shown that being physically active isn’t going to keep you looking and feeling young forever.

The research suggests that the “link between muscle ageing and lack of exercise is not plausible.”  The study looked into the aging population in the USA and the UK and showed there to be no effect into how much physical activity one does in relation to biological factors. 

However, before you all dump your trainers and take up a life in front of the TV, these physical activity effects vary amongst people. For the lucky few muscle tissue will be lost at a slower rate, producing less apparent ageing results. But there is around a quarter of people who, despite being physically active, cannot grow muscle tissue. As a consequence of these findings, Professor Timmons and colleagues are quite vocal in the advocation of discovering a drug to slow the ageing process down.

This breakthrough in research has dismissed older theories and has allowed for progressive theories of ageing such as ‘inflammation, oxidative stress or free radicals’ to be explored. Muscle ageing can now be identified through specific chemical markers and fingerprints which is likely to aid hospital treatment and the priority given to those with rapidly declining muscle functioning in future.

The national guidelines place physical activity as a prominent marker of health yet it may be more beneficial for people to focus upon their dietary habits and also their sedentary time such as sleep. So what’s the answer for those set on looking young into their old age? Maybe we should all start on the anti-ageing creams now and rely less on those six gym sessions a week!


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