Posted on Mar 12, 2018, 9 p.m.
Older people who had participated in exercises their entire lives were compared to similar aged and younger people who did not exercise regularly, results showed that those who had exercised regularly have defied the aging process by having muscle mass, cholesterol levels, and immunity of a young person according to the University of Birmingham and King’s College, as published in Aging Cell.
Researchers set out to see if exercise throughout a lifetime could slow down the effects of aging by recruiting 125 participants who were amateur cyclists in the age group of 55-79 years old, 41 of which were female and 84 were male.The women had been cycling 60 km in 5.5 hours and the men cycled 100 km in under 6.5 hours. Heavy drinkers, high blood pressure, and smokers or other conditions were excluded from this study.
Participants underwent a series of laboratory testing and were compared to another group of adult participants which did not participate in regular physical activity that consisted of individuals that were healthy in the same age group as well as another group of 55 healthy younger adults in the 20-36 years of age group.
Age related muscle mass loss and strength was observed not to occur in the older participants that had exercised regularly, as well as cholesterol levels and body fat did not increase with age, and men’s testosterone levels also remained high. Immune systems in the cyclists did not seem to have aged either according to study results, as the thymus in the cyclists were still making as many T cells as those of a young person.
These finding also debunk the common assumption that aging will automatically make people more frail, and add to a body of evidence showing that encouraging people to become and stay involved in regular physical activity throughout their lifetime is a viable way to improve quality of life to go along with the longer years we are living to allow bodies to age optimally free from problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
In 400 BC Hippocrates said that exercise is the best medicine man can have, but somewhere over the ages this important message had been lost and forgotten and it is more than reflected with society being more sedentary with a growing obesity epidemic. Findings come as figures to show that less than half of adults over the age of 60 exercise enough to stay healthy with more than over half of those suffering from at least 2 diseases.
Materials provided by University of Birmingham.
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Ross D. Pollock, Katie A. O'Brien, Lorna J. Daniels, Kathrine B. Nielsen, Anthea Rowlerson, Niharika A. Duggal, Norman R. Lazarus, Janet M. Lord, Andrew Philp, Stephen D. R. Harridge. Properties of the vastus lateralis muscle in relation to age and physiological function in master cyclists aged 55-79 years. Aging Cell, 2018; e12735 DOI: 10.1111/acel.12735
Duggal et al. Major features of Immunesenescence, including Thymic atrophy, are ameliorated by high levels of physical activity in adulthood. Aging Cell, 2018