Washington, July 7 : A new study by researchers at the University of Salzburg has suggested that slow, rather than fast, exercise is better for menopausal women.
In the study, lead author Dr Alexandra Sanger and colleagues at the University of Salzburg examined the effects of different exercise regimes in menopausal women.
Their aim was to develop new strategies for delaying and reducing the initial onset of age related muscle deterioration.
Researchers investigated two particular methods of physical training, hypertrophy resistance and 'SuperSlow'.
Hypertrophy resistance training is a traditional approach designed to induce muscle growth while 'SuperSlow' is a more recently devised system which involves much slower movement and fewer repetitions of exercises, and was originally introduced especially for beginners and for rehabilitation.
"Our results indicate that both methods increase muscle mass at the expense of connective and fatty tissue, but contrary to expectations, the SuperSlow method appears to have the greatest effect," Dr Sanger said.
"These findings will be used to design specific exercise programmes for everyday use to reduce the risk of injury and thus significantly contribute to a better quality of life in old age," Dr Sanger added.
For the study, researchers focused on groups of menopausal women aged 45-55 years, the age group in which muscle deterioration first starts to become apparent.
Groups undertook supervised regimes over 12 weeks, based on each of the training methods.
In order to see what effect the exercise had, thigh muscle biopsies were taken at the beginning and end of the regimes, and microscopically analysed to look for changes in the ratio of muscle to fatty and connective tissue, the blood supply to the muscle, and particularly for differences in the muscle cells themselves.
"The results of our experiments have significantly improved our understanding of how muscles respond to different forms of exercise," asserts Dr Sanger.
"We believe that the changes that this new insight can bring to current training systems will have a considerable effect on the lives of both menopausal and older women," she added.
The study will be presented on Monday 7th July at the Society for Experimental Biology's Annual Meeting in Marseille.