Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Mitochondrial Health

Can Strength Training Reverse Aging?

In every cell of our body there are hundreds or thousands of mitochondria, they exist in greater quantities in the most active organs and tissues (muscles, heart and brain). Mitochondria are the organelles responsible for energy production in our body. If you always feel tired, if you experience memory loss, if you have frequent muscle pain and if you are one of those people taking medications for cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and other chronic diseases, it is very likely that your mitochondria are not in “great shape”.

Some other reasons we age faster derive from the constant injuries inflicted to the mitochondria, such as:

Chronic stress,
lack of sleep,
poor eating choices (processed foods),
lack of exercise (particularly strength training),
tobacco, and
exposure to pollutants

An amazing study was published in 2007 and was the first human study to demonstrate that strength training can reverse the aging process at molecular level.

The researchers recruited 25 healthy elderly people (mean age 68 years), who already did some type of physical exercise (walking, gardening, tennis, golf, cycling) three to four times a week, and 26 young adults (mean age 24 years) relatively inactive, some of them participating in recreational activities.

The authors identified 596 genes that were differentially expressed between the two age groups. Of the 596 genes, the researchers identified 179 associated with age and exercise that showed a remarkable reversal in their expression profile after six months of resistance training. This literally means that resistance training not only can slow down but also reverse the aging process at the genetic level. The genetic expression of the elderly individuals became similar to those of the younger group. The researchers also noted that mitochondrial dysfunction (closely related to physical inactivity) began to reverse after six months of training.

This study demonstrated for the first time that resistance training can reverse age-related aspects at the gene level!

In short, this fascinating study is basically telling us that it is within our power to increase health and longevity. In this case, the “fountain of youth” is something we know and something that is relatively accessible to everyone – Strength Training.

If you love the Get Lean Eat Clean Podcast, we’d love for you to subscribe, rate, and give a review on iTunes. Until next time!

Melov S, Tarnopolsky MA, Beckman K, Felkey K, Hubbard A (2007) Resistance Exercise Reverses Aging in Human Skeletal Muscle. PLoS ONE 2(5): e465.


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