If you want to combat ageing, exercise is the best way to do it. More effective than any wrinkle cream, exercise literally knocks years off your age. You’ve heard it before but it’s worth repeating – exercise keeps you young. As much as 30 years younger, according to a new study.
If you want to keep your 30-year old body when you're 60, read on.
The uplifting study was published in August in the Journal of Applied Physiology. Researchers wanted to find out to what extent physical decline is inevitable with age or whether it’s partially due to our modern lifestyles.
The researchers looked at 21 men and 7 women now in their 70s who’d started exercising during the exercise boom of the 1970s. All had maintained their exercise – mostly running, swimming or cycling – for the next 50 years or more, purely for recreation. A similar age group of non-active people and a group of active people in their 20s were also studied.
They tested everyone for aerobic capacity and number of muscular capillaries and enzymes.
Surprisingly, the muscles of the older exercises resembled those of the young people. They had the same number of muscle capillaries and enzymes as the people in their 20s, and much more than in the muscles of the non-exercising group.
The aerobic capacities of the older exercisers were lower than the young people. But they were also 40 percent higher than the non-active older group.
In fact, the aerobic capacities of the older group showed them to have the cardiovascular health of people 30 years younger than themselves! This suggests that the physical deterioration we associate with getting old may not be inevitable.
This means the exercise you do now (in your 20s/30s/40s) may well help you “build a reserve” of good health which might help reduce frailty in later years. This goes along with previous research suggesting your early 30s are a great time to start exercising, and definitely to get into the exercise habit before middle age.
Why not make 2019 a year to build strong exercise habits that help keep you young, energetic and embracing life?
My mum has always been very active and she still looks great in her 70s. I think the best motivation is to know someone who actually seems younger, rather than just reading about it in theory, it definitely helps me.
my physio said the same - exercise may actually cause joint problems later on. But we might get those anyway, and there are so many other benefits (and fun!) from exercise that I'm sticking with it.
the late fifties people I know are indeed very active, and would back this up with cardio and muscle health. Unfortunately they all have some degree of joint or back problems due to the simple passage of time and wear and tear. This doesn't negate the article but the lesson for me is to make the most of youth!