Women find it tougher to keep in shape as they grow older

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London, Mar 26 (UNI) Women find it harder than men to keep in shape as they get older, research said.

Scientists found women's bodies struggle to replace muscle lost naturally through age, raising their risk of falls and fractures.

Older men, however, have no problem in converting the protein in their food into new muscle.

The difference is due to sex hormones as the sharp fall in oestrogen levels after menopause makes it harder for women to maintain muscle mass.

In men, however, levels of oestrogen remain high well into old age.

Women also tend to carry less muscle and more fat than men, meaning their body has less core strength to fall back on as they get older, the Daily Mail reported.

Nottingham University researcher Professor Michael Rennie said, ''Older women have less muscle than men so their balance is not as good and they are more at risk of falling.'' ''If an elderly woman falls over she has a 50 per cent risk of dying within two years, which underlines the need for more research into this area. Men suffer far fewer bad falls,'' he said.

Prof Rennie, who carried out the study in conjunction with colleagues at Washington University, said, ''Rather than eating more, older people should focus on eating a higher proportion of protein in their everyday diet and do resistance exercise.'' UNI XC SKB HT1250

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