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Study suggests lifestyle more a factor in muscle loss with aging

There’s more good news for masters aged athletes and staying healthy while aging.

A new study had found that the assumption people naturally lose muscle with age may be related more to a move towards a sedentary lifestyle than to aging itself.

The  study, done by the UPMC Centre for Sports Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, performed MRIs on the quadriceps of runners, cyclists, and swimmers ages 40 to 81. They found that the muscle size of women aged 40 to 70 did not differ based on age, but only on activity levels. The quadricep muscles of study participants were the same in those who exercised similar amounts across age categories, but those who followed a more sedentary lifestyle saw muscle loss with age.

The study was headed by Dr. Vonda Wright, an orthopedic surgeon, and author of Fitness After 40: How to Stay Strong at Any Age.

Other recent studies have also found similar results related to oxygen economy in runners as they age and muscle size in arms. Unsurprisingly, it’s still also worth noting that the muscle strength is related to the muscles being used for activity; running will keep your legs strong with age much better than it will keep your arms strong, so researchers note that it may be worth participating is different fitness activities.