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Exercising Throughout Life May Slow the Aging Process

Is it possible to slow the aging process? A recent study suggests regularly exercising may result in mature adults having immunity, muscle mass, and cholesterol levels that are similar to younger people.


Participants in the study included 125 amateur cyclists between the ages of 55 and 79, 84 of whom were men and 41 of whom were women, as well as 75 healthy people ages 57 to 80 and 55 ages 20 to 36 who did not regularly exercise.


In the exercise group, the men had to be able to cycle 62 miles in under 6.5 hours, while the women had to be able to cycle 37 miles in under 5.5 hours. None of the participants were smokers, heavy drinkers, or had high blood pressure or other health conditions. Muscle biopsy samples were taken from all of the participants. The samples were used to determine muscle fiber type and composition, size, capillary density, and mitochondrial protein content in relation to age.


The researchers found that the cyclist group did not increase body fat or cholesterol levels as they aged and that the men’s testosterone levels remained high. They also found that the cyclists’ immune systems did not seem to have aged. In particular, their thymuses — which usually start to shrink and make fewer T cells around age 20 — were making as many T cells as those of a younger person.


Researchers from King’s College London led the study. It was published online ahead of print on March 8, 2018, in Aging Cell.


Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. Previous clinical studies suggest that even moderate exercise may help with blood sugar control, body weight reduction, improved heart health, improved respiratory health and reduced risk of dying prematurely.

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