You may not be able to run a marathon, swim in the ocean or play tennis for a year but you can exercise your back and neck muscles for up to a year, according to a new study.

In a study of 5,000 people, researchers found that the muscles in the back and shoulders of older adults were stronger than those of younger adults.

The muscles, called the trapezius and medialis, were stronger in older adults than in younger adults but also had greater range of motion, meaning they could move in the opposite direction to the muscles of younger people, the researchers found.

“This is a huge finding that we’ve never before seen in older people,” Dr Rebecca Breslin, from the University of Birmingham, said.

“We can’t speak to the full range of exercise and activities people can do in their leisure time, but it’s possible to have back and shoulder exercises for as long as 12 months and still be in good physical shape.”

People often think of the strength of muscles as being fixed, but in fact we’re all in a state of change, we’re moving about, we can make changes and change the way we’re thinking.

“Dr Bresfield said the findings suggested people had more flexibility in their muscles, allowing them to change and improve their posture.

The research also found older people were more likely to have neck pain, as well as pain in the lower back, shoulders and lower arms.

Dr Binsley said people with arthritis and other conditions could be more at risk for developing back pain, but that the research was not definitive.

She said the study also looked at a broader range of exercises, including weight lifting, stretching, lunges and yoga, but there was no conclusive evidence that these were associated with any significant changes in back health.

Topics:arts-and-entertainment,health,obesity,community-and,diseases-and_disorders,health-policy,united-kingdom,france,sydney-2000,australiaContact Rebecca Binsle at [email protected] or 011 879 879.