This week’s post is going to be about the relationship between strength training and anti-ageing. Firstly, I am going to discuss 4 strength-training benefits in relation to both reversing and preventing aging. Secondly, I am going to recommend watching this podcast featuring aging expert Dr. Sinclair on ways to reverse aging, this podcast mentions exercise and inspired this week’s blog post. This blog post covers how strength training in particular can reverse aging at a cellular level and how preventing muscle mass loss is important to staying young.
In this post, I am going to share with you some of Dr. Sinclair’s anti-ageing tips and go over how resistance training can reverse mitochondrial damage, reduce inflammation, produce myokines (important for anti-ageing) and reduce glucose, insulin resistance and CRP levels. Secondly, I will share Dr. David Sinclair’s 3 exercise-specific tips for reversing aging. Dr. Sinclair frames aging as a disease. It is from this standpoint that we come to understand the ideas that he shares, particularly in how this disease happens as both a result of our lifestyles and how we can combat this on a cellular level by means of fasting and high intensity exercise. Finally, I will share with you Dr. Mike Israetel’s tips to enhance bodybuilding training and increase longevity in the sport. Dr. Israetel is a sports science professor with a PhD in Sport Physiology and Sport Scientist at Renaissance Periodization.
For the sake of this post, the exercise that will be discussed is resistance training. How can resistance training reverse aging? According to Dr. David Sinclair, longevity genes can be turned on by high intensity exercise and by “being out of breath 10 minutes every day or every other day”. Furthermore, according to Sinclair, the worst thing that we can do for aging (and our hearts) is to never get out of breath.
Here are 4 ways in which exercise can reverse aging:
1) Resistance training can reverse aging by reversing damage done to the mitochondria (injury to these energy storehouses are responsible for aging).
“Of the 596 genes, the researchers identified 179 associated with age and exercise that showed a remarkable reversal in their expression profile after six months of resistance training. This literally means that resistance training not only can slow down but also reverse the aging process at the genetic level. The genetic expression of the elderly individuals became similar to those of the younger group. The researchers also noted that mitochondrial dysfunction (closely related to physical inactivity) began to reverse after six months of training.”
More studies stating how resistance training reverses the damage done to mitochondria and how this reverses aging: “The important and novel finding is that resistance exercise training reverses many aspects of the aging transcriptome signature. This implies that a functional improvement in aging muscle due to resistance exercise is associated with a global improvement in the molecular signature of aging particularly for transcripts related to mitochondrial function (Melov et al., 2007).”
“Mitochondria are like the battery packs in the cell; these are important for burning fat. The key points here are: the more you exercise, the more mitrochondria you will have and calorie restriction boosts mitochondrial activity.”
2) Resistance training reverses aging by reducing inflammation and CRP levels.
“The most interesting finding of the study, however, was that sticking with resistance training confers unique benefits in regards to inflammation and energy regulation as shown by lower levels CRP and glucose.”
“This phenomenon could be best explained by the fact the muscle contraction produces molecules called myokines that reduce inflammation and ultimately lower levels of CRP. Because advanced strength-trainers have more muscle mass, they will produce greater levels of myokines. These findings are supported by a 2014 meta-analysis evaluating the impact of resistance training on CRP levels in elderly subjects.”
3) Resistance training can reverse aging by increasing body’s sensitivity to Insulin and thereby reduces glucose levels.
“This includes insulin insensitivity, Type 2 Diabetes—which is very bad for aging, probably the worst one we know of. The way to combat that is: don’t be overweight, keep exercising and lift weights.”
4) Resistance training can reverse aging by increasing muscle mass and preserving calcium in the bones.
“Resistance training and deep stretching or yoga are also proven to reverse aging. Exercises like the chest and leg press, leg extension, shoulder press, lat pull-down, seated row, calf raise, back extension, biceps curl, and triceps extension, have all been included in research studies proving age reversal. Resistance training enhances muscle mass and preserves bone calcium.”
How to optimize strength training for anti-ageing according to Dr.Sinclair:
The second portion of this blog post is going to describe Dr.Sinclair’s recommendations for training and tips that he gives to optimize the anti-ageing benefits of resistance training.
1) The exercises must be performed at a high-intensity.
2) Make sure to take deep breaths as you are training to boost oxygen in the bloodstream!
Exercise in cold weather.
Simply, according to Dr. Sinclair, “Cold weather increases your immune system”.
Increasing longevity in bodybuilding based on training decade:
Now that we went over the benefits of resistance training on reversing aging, let us dive into how we can optimize our strength training based on this timeline by Mike Israetel’s educational video. On top of recognizing aging as something that can both be reversed and prevented, here are ways to optimize strength training to reap all of it’s benefits in the long-term. In any case, starting earlier is better as it gives us more room to both create muscle mass thereby giving us all of those awesome age-preserving benefits.
From 15-30 years old:
This is the ideal stage to begin training in order to reap the maximum benefits of lifting weights. Both muscular and strength gains at this point are optimal.
30-40 years old:
Gaining muscle becomes increasingly slower towards late 30’s. Bodybuilding peak (strength and muscle gains). Focussing on details (ie: growing calves) is optimal at this stage.
40-60 years old:
More recovery is needed for heavy lifts (ie: attempting PR’s), an emphasis of injury avoidance with lifting is encouraged.
60+ years old:
Body responds less to training, keep doing compound lifts at a 10-30 rep range to preserve existing muscle mass.
In conclusion, resistance training can reverse ageing by means of reversing damage to the mitochondria, reducing overall body inflammation and increasing our bodies’ sensitivity to insulin/reducing glucose levels. According to anti-ageing expert Dr. Sinclair who frames aging as a disease, your training has to be intense to reap maximum anti-aging benefits. Furthermore, rapid breathing when training and training in the cold are useful ways of reaping more of those anti-ageing benefits. Finally, Dr. Mike Israetel draws upon one’s training lifespan to introduce the best ways to train for longevity based on the body’s strengths and weaknesses at every decade.
I hope that you guys enjoyed this blog post on reversing aging by means of resistance training, please let me know what you thought about it in the comments section below!