There’s little doubt that weight training reverses the effects of aging in human skeletal muscle. But in a new study, researchers at McMaster University wanted to see if the loss of mitochondrial function, related to the loss of muscle mass in older individuals, would also be reversed. (The mitochondria convert food into energy).
So they compared the effects of six months of twice weekly weight training on younger adults (20-35 years of age) and older adults (65-70 years of age). And found that there was a “remarkable reversal” in mitochondrial function and strength similar to that seen in the younger adults. Before the six months of training, the older adults were 59% weaker than the younger adults. But after the training, the strength of the older adults improved by about 50%.
What’s interesting is that while we all know that the mitochondria are involved in aerobic metabolism, this research suggests that you don’t need to do aerobic exercise to stimulate mitochondrial growth.