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Why Exercising as You Age Becomes More Important and Challenging

Ever wondered why it"s harder to achieve the same benefits of exercise today as you did when you were younger? Chalk it up to a process called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) that slows down as one gets older.

In skeletal muscle, AMPK stimulates the body to burn fat and fuel cells by producing mitochondria, which probably explains the endurance of long-distance runners with a greater ability to burn fat and higher mitochondrial content in their muscles.

Scientists further clarified the process while comparing the skeletal muscle of younger rats (3 months) to older ones (2 years) which were exposed to chemicals that stimulate AMPK and fed more food. In general, older rats had far lower AMPK activity as compared to younger ones, a factor that could greatly contribute to insulin resistance and, eventually, Type 2 diabetes in humans.

If you recall a study I posted here last year, however, seniors who participated in a regular exercise regimen -- one of the keys to optimizing your health -- outperformed younger patients, so you still have no excuse not to exercise.

The other important concept that will eliminate any chance you may be touched by Type 2 diabetes in the future: Exercise, in combination with a nutritious diet (ideally based on your body"s unique nutritional type), are intrinsically linked to confer the greatest benefits to your health.

Cell Metabolism, Vol. 5, No. 2, February 7, 2007: 151-156 Free Full Text Study

BBC News February 10, 2007

Science Daily February 7, 2007