This is one of the coolest things I have seen in some time. Also, one of the strongest arguments I have ever seen for an active lifestyle.
The study, “Chronic Exercise Preserves Lean Muscle Mass in Masters Athletes,” published in The Physician and Sports Medicine journal, compares the muscle mass of a 70-year-old triathlon to those of a 74-year-old person with a sedentary lifestyle. A nice summary of the study can be found here The pictures accompanying the study are just amazing.
This is proof that age doesn’t slow us down, slowing down as we age makes us slow down, if that makes sense. Bottom line: slowing down as we age is a conscious choice.
From the study:
“It is commonly believed that with aging comes an inevitable decline from vitality to frailty. This includes feeling weak and often the loss of independence. These declines may have more to do with lifestyle choices, including sedentary living and poor nutrition, than the absolute potential of musculoskeletal aging.
While the study, obviously, compares the two extremes (sedentary versus ultra athlete) I think it still makes a strong argument for staying active, even if that activity is something less challenging than a triathlon. Just like anything else, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Muscles and bones are no exception.