Regular exercisers have the hearts and muscles of people decades younger than them
Researchers, from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana publishing their results in the Journal of Applied Physiology, studied 28 people over 70 who have been exercising consistently since the 1970s to determine how staying active can offset the physical decline associated with ageing.
Finding the group via social media, and with two comparison groups of fit 20 year olds and inactive 70 year olds, they put the participants through fitness tests to determine aerobic and muscle fitness.
They measured indicators of muscle health - the number of capillaries and enzymes in their muscles - and their aerobic capabilities and found that:
- their muscular health matched those of the younger test group with only slightly decreased aerobic potential.
- in comparison to their sedentary peers, they had far more capillaries and enzymes, and 40% higher aerobic ability.
Comparing their data with national averages, the active pensioners had the cardiovascular health of people younger by 30 years and they had staved off the physical effects of old age.