You might as well stay on the couch because keeping fit 'can't stop our muscles ageing'

By
Nick Mcdermott

PUBLISHED:

01:14 GMT, 22 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:08 GMT, 22 March 2013

Sex And The City star Sarah Jessica Parker, now 47, has been forced to reduce her daily workout after her designer gowns revealed her bulging veins and sinewy biceps

Sex And The City star Sarah Jessica Parker, now 47, has been forced to reduce her daily workout after her designer gowns revealed her bulging veins and sinewy biceps

Millions of us spend hours sweating and straining in the gym hoping to keep ourselves looking younger than our years.

But when it comes to slowing down the ageing process, you might as well stay on the couch.

According to scientists, regular exercise will not stop our muscles losing their tone and shape. The findings challenge the long-held belief that inactivity is largely responsible for muscle wastage in our older years.

Professor Jamie Timmons, from
Loughborough University, said the research shows 'a simple link between
muscle ageing and lack of exercise is not plausible'.

He
added: 'When it comes to tackling ageing, experts are advising the
Government that muscle ageing is caused by factors such as inactivity.
However, we looked at the changes in human muscle with age, in both
people from the UK and the USA.

'We
did not observe physical activity altering the age-related biological
changes. So for some people exercise might produce some good functional
effects, but for others it will not stop the loss of muscle.'

Professor Timmons said a quarter of
people 'just cannot grow muscle tissue' even when they make an effort to
be physically active.

And he stressed that a 'one-size-fits-all' approach will not be effective when it comes to stopping muscles from withering away.

The
researchers found specific chemical markers, or fingerprints, for
muscle ageing. Once they identified the chemical signatures, the
scientists were able to see how they reacted to endurance training.

They were looking for improvements in
the patients who were exercising. But they soon realised that the
volunteers' hard work in the gym did not stop their muscles from
deteriorating.

Professor
Timmons, who specialises in systems biology at Loughborough's Sport,
Exercise and Health Sciences department, said: 'We found there is
absolutely no connection. The major problem with ageing is loss of
muscle, but 25 per cent of people don't respond to exercise and grow
muscle.'

Scientists say new research shows when it comes to slowing down the ageing process, you might as well stay on the couch

Scientists say new research shows when it comes to slowing down the ageing process, you might as well stay on the couch

According to scientists, regular exercise will not stop our muscles losing their tone and shape

According to scientists, regular exercise will not stop our muscles losing their tone and shape

He warned that repetitive exercise could cause more than one in ten people to suffer high blood pressure and place 9 per cent at higher risk of diabetes. He said: 'Our public health strategy is to focus on physical activity, which in many cases doesn't work.

'For some people, the focus may be better spent on looking at their diet or sleep.'

The findings will come as bad news to exercise-obsessed stars who have attempted to maintain their youthful looks.

Despite her rigorous fitness regime, it is often pointed out that Madonna's hands and the veins on her arms make her look every one of her 54 years.

Last year Meg Ryan, 51, turned heads for all the wrong reasons after being spotted with blood vessels protruding from her arms.

And Sex And The City star Sarah Jessica Parker, now 47, has been forced to reduce her daily workout after her designer gowns revealed her bulging veins and sinewy biceps.

Prominent veins are usually a sign of over-exercising, and they become more evident as the body ages.

But Jane Fonda, 75, motivated a generation of women to exercise and still puts stars half her age in the shade.

However, although she looks younger than her years, her workouts won't have stopped her muscles from ageing.