Untrained older adults could be able to enjoy the same health benefits of highly trained athletes belonging to the same age group through resistance training, according to a study.

The study, published in the medical journal Frontiers in Physiology on Friday, focused on the difference in benefits that an untrained older individual and a trained athlete can receive through resistance exercises, like weight training.

It is not the first time a study is focusing on the health benefits that an older adult can receive by beginning to do some exercise regularly. Previous studies have suggested that involving in physical activities at old age can extend the lifespan of a person and keep the person away from several chronic illnesses, like blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, to a certain extent.

The latest study suggested that even a person who was completely unaccustomed to exercise and who was never involved in any kind of sustained exercise programs can benefit from resistance exercises.

For the study, a group of researchers from the School of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Birmingham, England, recruited 15 older adults belonging to the age group of 60 to 80 years. While eight of the participants were untrained, seven of them were master endurance athletes.

After dividing the participants into two groups depending on their involvements in structured exercise programs, the researchers offered them an isotope tracer, which was in the form of a drink with high dose of water.

The participants were then asked to participate in a weight training program that involved a single bout of exercise on an exercise machine. The researchers took the muscle biopsies of each of the participants in the 48 hours period before and after the exercise.

When they compared the results of both the groups, they found that all the participants had equal ability to build muscle after taking part in the exercise.

“Our study clearly shows that it doesn't matter if you haven't been a regular exerciser throughout your life, you can still derive benefit from exercise whenever you start,” lead researcher Leigh Breen said in a statement.

The researcher further said it is fact that “long term commitment to good health and exercise is the best approach to achieve whole-body health, but even starting later on in life will help delay age-related frailty and muscle weakness”.

“Current public health advice on strength training for older people is often quite vague. What's needed is more specific guidance on how individuals can improve their muscle strength, even outside of a gym-setting through activities undertaken in their homes - activities such as gardening, walking up and down stairs, or lifting up a shopping bag can all help if undertaken as part of a regular exercise regime,” Breen added.

Untrained older adults can benefit from resistance exercises, according to a study. Image by MCvec from Pixabay