Inactivity saps muscle strength
As per a new research, it only takes two weeks of not using their legs for younger and older people to lose a third of their muscular strength.
University of Copenhagen’s Andreas Vigelsoe said that the experiments reveal that inactivity affects the muscular strength of young and older men equally. Having had one leg immobilized for two weeks, young people lose up to a third of their muscular strength, while older people lose approximately one fourth.
Vigelsoe added that a young man who is immobilized for two weeks loses muscular strength in his leg equivalent to ageing by 40 or 50 years.
With age, people’s total muscle mass diminishes, which is why young men have approx. one kilogram more muscle mass in each leg than older men. Both groups lose muscle mass when immobilized for two weeks, young men lose 485 grams on average, while older men lose approx. 250 grams. The participants’ physical fitness was also reduced while their one leg was immobilized in a pad.
Researcher Martin Gram explained that the more muscle mass you have, the more you’ll lose. Which means that if one is fit and become injured, he’ll most likely lose more muscle mass than someone who is unfit, over the same period of time.
Gram added that even though older people lose less muscle mass and their level of fitness is reduced slightly less than in young people, the loss of muscle mass is presumably more critical for older people, because it is likely to have a greater impact on their general health and quality of life.
Bicycle-training is not enough for the participants to regain their original muscular strength. Cycling is sufficient to help people regain lost muscle mass and reach their former fitness level, but to regain muscular strength following a period of inactivity; one needs to include weight training, Vigelsoe states.