A recent study out of the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine in Pittsburgh, PA, has found that the atrophying of muscles and declining of strength that many believe is inevitable with aging is in fact avoided with regular exercise. Researchers conducted MRI scans on individuals who were both sedentary and athletic (exercising four to five times a week) between the ages of 40 and 81. The results showed a severe difference in the amount of muscle degradation between seniors who did and did not lead athletic lifestyles.
The MRI scans showed a remarkably small amount of muscle loss in older people who exercised regularly when compared to those who were sedentary. Aging seemed to matter little to those seniors who were especially active, as their muscle mass remained incredibly intact. This contradicts the traditional belief that aging alone is the cause of a decline in muscle mass and strength, and shows that the disuse of muscles due to a lack of exercise is the main cause of muscle atrophy in seniors. These findings reinstates the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle, especially as one enters their senior years.