Keeping fit a lot tougher for older women

March 26th, 2008 - 2:38 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, March 26 (IANS) Women aged over 65 find it harder than men of the same age to preserve muscle, which is likely to impair their ability to stay strong and fit, according to a new study. Researchers from the universities of Washington and Nottingham attribute this to hormonal changes with menopause, a possible culprit being oestrogen, required in women and men to help maintain bone mass.

The researchers said their findings fit in with other preliminary results showing that women are less able to build muscle after lifting weights in the gym.

Younger men and women who have not reached menopause do not seem to show any difference.

Findings of the study have been published in the open access Public Library of Science (PLoS) One.

The new results underline the importance for older women eating plenty of protein such as eggs, fish, chicken and lean red meat, in conjunction with lifting weights.

Half of all elderly people, who suffer a serious fall, die within two years. But it is thought the number of falls could be reduced if muscle mass could be more effectively maintained so that hips and knees remain strong and well supported.

Until now, scientists found no differences between men and women in muscle protein synthesis - the process by which the body builds muscle.

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