As a whiff of chocolate odour comes the news that a stroll followed by a glass of chocolate milk can do wonders for the musle function of an individual.
This is in the direction of efforts by the University of Auckland's Faculty of Science which aims to develop a non-pharmaceutical means to maintain muscle function and quality of life in older individuals.
The goal of his research is not to make athletes out of the elderly, but to increase our lifespan and quality of life in old age said senior lecturer at the Department of Sport and Exercise Science, Dr Benjamin Miller.
"The ability of people to create energy and perform work stems from structures that exist inside our cells called mitochondria. As we grow older the amount of mitochondria we have decreases and with it our respiratory capacity. This decline is determined by the turnover of proteins in the mitochondria. We hope to highlight an effective and easy way to maintain the protein content in muscles or at least replace old and damaged proteins with new ones."
Dr Miller and PhD student Cheryl Murphy, surveyed and asked a group of elderly kiwis to perform two identical sessions of aerobic exercise on a stationary bike. After one session the participants were asked to drink a mixture of protein and carbohydrate (e.g. sweetened milk) and after the other just carbohydrates.
Consuming proteins and sugars after resistance training increases the synthesis of proteins used for force i.e. it builds muscles, is a well documented fact and so Dr Miller's research would unravel the mystery that doing the same after aerobic exercise can also increase the synthesis of mitochondrial proteins which affect our ability to make energy and play a large role in our mortality. So it would be helpful in the udnerstanding of this phenomenon.