We know that regular exercise does a body good, but now, according to a new study, we know that it can also keep a body young.
It turns out that keeping active, especially adhering to a cardio routine, can basically keep your body from aging. Seriously.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, recruited three different groups of people. The first group was made up of 28 physically active men and women, most of whom were well into their 70s and had consistently exercised for five decades or more. For the second group, researchers from Ball State University took older adults who hadn't worked out during adulthood, and the third group was comprised of younger active people in their 20s.
Researchers tested the aerobic capacities of each group and took tissue samples to measure the number of capillaries and levels of certain enzymes in the muscles.
Dr. Scott Trappe, the director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State and the study’s senior author, told the New York Times that his team assumed they would see "hierarchal results" between the groups, meaning that the cardiovascular system and muscles would be strongest with the younger exercisers, and inevitably decline with age.
However, their results were not what they expected.
In fact, they discovered that the muscles belonging to the older exercisers closely resembled those of the younger exercisers despite their 50 year age gap. While the younger group was a bit stronger aerobically, the researchers found the older active group had the cardiovascular health of people 30 years younger than themselves.
This recent research coincides with numerous other studies that have also proved just how much regular exercise benefits the body and aging process.
One study from 2017 found that people who exercised regularly had biological aging markers that appeared nine years younger than those who were sedentary. In other words, exercise can make you younger at a cellular level.
Another study released earlier this year found that older people who have exercised all of their lives defied the aging process, having the immunity, muscle mass, and cholesterol levels of a young person.
While this latest study didn't look at muscle mass and other important measures of health or whether you can begin exercising late in life and benefit to the same extent, Dr. Trappe told the New York Times that they plan to focus on those variables in future studies.
For now, Dr. Trappe told the Times, the study's findings suggest that physical deterioration as we age might not actually be "normal or inevitable."
How much exercise should you be aiming for? Dr. Trappe told Medical News Today that, "if you want to put 30–45 minutes of walking in one day, the amount of health benefit you are going to get from that is going to be significant and substantial."
So if you want to keep your body young and healthy, stick to your exercise routine. You might not want to take that spinning class, but your seventy-year-old self will definitely thank you.
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