Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Exercise regularly to slow down aging

Exercise regularly to slow down aging

Scientists did tests on 125 novice cyclists aged 55 to 79 and contrasted them and sound grown-ups from a wide age aggregate who did not exercise regularly.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham and King's College London have found signs of ageing thought to be inevitable can be avoided in men and women who are fit.

The research team enlisted 125 people between 55 and 79 years old who bicycled for fun.

Heavy drinkers, smokers, and those with other health problems were excluded from the study. This group involved 75 healthy people between the ages of 57 and 88, as well as 55 young adults between the ages of 20 and 36.

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Results revealed that muscle mass loss and strength loss did not occur in the exercising group. Not only was T-cell activity higher in the active adults than the inactive men and women, but the cyclists were also producing the same level of T-cell activity as young adults in their 20s.

"Hippocrates in 400BC said that exercise is man's best medicine, but his message has been lost over time and we are an increasingly sedentary society", Janet Lord, co-author of the study and director of the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing at the University of Birmingham, told the Guardian.

The study authors say the findings debunk the assumption that ageing automatically makes us more frail, and provides evidence that encouraging people to exercise more can improve health in later life. She said that at present people are living longer but not healthier and this can be changed only through regular exercise. "Remove the activity and their health would likely deteriorate", Harridge said in a statement.

Norman Lazarus, Emeritus Professor at King's College London and also a master cyclist and Dr Ross Pollock, who undertook the muscle study, both agreed that: "Most of us who exercise have nowhere near the physiological capacities of elite athletes".

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We already know that regular exercise reduces risk of diseases associated with aging, like cardiovascular problems. For example thymus - an organ that makes immune cells called the T cells in the twenties and thereafter shrinks with age, remained healthy and active in these older adults who regularly exercised. It raised their "physiological capabilities". "You will reap the rewards in later life by enjoying an independent and productive old age".

The latest study was published Thursday in the journal Aging Cell and built on a previous work by the researchers published in 2015.

The researchers are planning to continue study the cyclists.

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