At the ripe age of 70, Jim Owen finally came to realize that his successful career on Wall Street was a burden on his health. Not necessarily because of the stress that came with the job, but because he had been sedentary most of the time.
Owen finally began exercising after this realization and completely reclaimed his physical health over the years, even though he was 70 when he kickstarted his new active lifestyle. Now at the age of 79, Owen is as healthy as can be. A new study in the journal, Frontiers in Physiology, backs up what Owen witnessed firsthand: Even if you’ve never worked out regularly and are older, your body has the same ability to build muscle mass.
A team at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom compared the ability of men to build muscle mass. They looked at two groups: People older than 60 who exercised at least twice a week for at least 20 years and those who didn’t have a consistent workout routine. Participants had a muscle biopsy 48 hours before consuming an isotope tracer drink and conducting a weight training session, then another biopsy after finishing. The drink enabled the researchers to see how proteins were developing within the muscle.
The results? Both groups had equal abilities to build muscle in response to exercise—showing it’s never too late to start working out. The researchers do have one caution though: if you’re new to the gym, you might want to start off slowly to avoid injury.