Muscle loss as we age is inevitable but contrary to what we might think, slowing down the ageing process when it comes to this part of our body doesn’t mean endless hours of exercise.
A new study has discovered that just a small increase in physical activity can help prevent loss of muscle, improve mobility and increase the length of time we are able to stay independent as we grow older.
Researchers found that doing just 48 minutes of moderate exercise a week – amounting to six minutes a day – can help reduce the pace at which our muscles deteriorate, Express.co.ukreports.
All types of exercise can be added to your weekly routine to make up the 48 minute total but scientists have outlined that it doesn’t have to be a strenuous tennis match or early morning swim to make a difference – it could just be six minutes of fast walking.
The study, published in PLOS ONE, analysed 1,635 adults between the ages of 70 and 89 who were active for less than 20 minutes a week and monitored the improvements in muscle density over the course of the experiment.
They found that those who increased their activity levels saw improvements in the amount of muscle with the greatest benefits to those who added 48 minutes of exercise into their weekly schedule.
‘Our goal was to have participants walking up to 150 minutes per week. To see benefits at 48 minutes is encouraging,’ explains study author Roger A. Fielding, a senior scientist at Tufts University in Massachusetts in the US.
‘We wanted the physical activity sessions to include exercise that participants could do outside of the study, and we hope that learning of these results might motivate others to try to make safe, incremental changes to their activity levels. ‘Now we see that smaller increases can have big impacts.’
Which is all good news for us Brits because six minutes is about all you have in-between rain showers at the moment!