New study reveals that exercising to reduce fat buildup could boost your longevity 

Exercise is proven to reduce fat buildup in muscle tissue but more research is needed to understand effects of this buildup. Source: Getty Images.

As early hunter gatherers, humans were never meant to live a sedentary life and this is becoming clearer as more and more research points to the benefits of exercising well into old age.

A new study conducted by a research team in the Netherlands recently found that complex lipids are present in our muscles as we age and that these fats respond to short-term exercise.

The study saw researchers initially running tests on mice and finding the same effects on humans, where fat starts to build up in muscle tissue as we age.

Furthermore, they found that these fats can be reduced through exercise – especially among postmenopausal women.

How do our muscles change as we age? 

To conduct the study, the scientists examined different tissues in young and old mice to better understand the age differences.

They found that primary fats called Bis(monoacylglycero)phosphates (BMPs) built up in mice as they got older.

Turning their attention to humans, the researchers then studied muscle biopsies from people in their 20s, 30s, 60s and 80s.

These biopsies showed a build up of BMPs in the older participants.

Does exercise reduce complex fats in our muscle tissues?

To understand if exercise reduces muscle tissue fat build up, they examined 12 overweight and postmenopausal women between the ages of 45 and 70.

The researchers created three different routines to test the effects of exercise.

Routine one saw people sit for 14 hours a day. In routine two they exercised for an hour daily, and routine three saw them stand for three hours and walk for two.

Each routine was tried for four days, and on the fifth day, a muscle sample was taken.

The study authors noted the following from their tests:

“While it’s known how simple lipids contribute to ageing and disease, little is known on how ‘complex’ lipids contribute,” they said.

“We set out to explore the relationship between complex lipids and ageing.

“There was a nearly tissue-wide accumulation of one lipid, BMP, in mice, and the same change was conserved in human muscle (in both men and women), which was astonishing.

“Taking this further, performing a short-term exercise intervention in postmenopausal women revealed that levels of this lipid could be reduced following exercise.”

The study’s limitations

The study has several limitations, including its initial focus on mice which may not fully represent human responses, although later human tissue analysis supported similar findings.

Moreover, the use of only male mice overlooked potential gender differences in lipid metabolism. The small human biopsy sample size and focus on one tissue type highlight the need for broader research, as does the study’s exclusive inclusion of women in the exercise intervention.

The short duration of the exercise trials hindered long-term assessment of BMP levels, while limited data on lipid-lowering medication usage underscores the necessity for further investigation into their effects on BMP levels.

Additionally, the study authors stress the need for more research to comprehend the mechanisms and implications of BMP accumulation with age, including whether it is protective or detrimental to health.

Exercise for seniors

Overall, the study reinforces the tangible benefits of regular exercise as we get older especially when it comes to reducing fat build up in our muscle tissues.

However, Dr. Paunel Vukasinov a board certified internist with Medical Offices of Manhattan, said it’s too early to make assumptions about the long term effects of these lipids.

“The study brings forth an interesting finding regarding accumulation of certain lipids that occurs with ageing and how this accumulation impacts the ageing process,” Vukasinov said.

“It is still early to determine the long term impact of these lipids, and further study is necessary.

“This study further underscores the importance of encouraging regular physical activity, especially as we age.

“Regular exercise maintains strong muscle which preserves mobility, improves cognitive function and sleep, and even has a positive impact on energy and mood,” he concluded.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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