It's proven, seniors who have been doing regular physical activity for many years have a body in as good condition as some 40-year-olds.
According to a new study, seniors who have been exercising regularly for years, have heart, lungs and muscles in as good condition as those aged 40 and over.
The team of scientists from the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, who conducted the study, compared the health measures of participants aged 70 and over with those of 20 years in good health and sports. Their conclusions were published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
"We found that people who exercise regularly, year after year, have better overall health," says Scott Trappe, director of the Human Performance Laboratory and lead author of the study.
Measurement of aerobic endurance
During the experiment, the participants were invited to perform physical exercises on an exercise bike. The purpose of this training session was to assess participants' aerobic endurance from their peak VO2 rate, which is the maximum amount of oxygen an individual can use during periods of time. intense aerobic exercise.
The marker is important because, as the scientists at the origin of the study explain, the VO2 max tends to decrease by about 10% every 10 years from the age of 30 years. This reduction of oxygen corresponds moreover to an increased risk of disease.
The researchers also performed muscle biopsies on the participants to evaluate the formation and distribution of small blood vessels in the muscles and to evaluate the activity of aerobic enzymes, which regulate oxygen metabolism at the cellular level.
30 to 45 minutes of exercise a day
Based on the results of their analyzes, the researchers concluded that the health measures of physically active participants in their sixties and older are similar to those of healthy people younger by a few decades.
"These 75-year-old men and women have a cardiovascular health similar to that of a 40-45 year old," says Trappe.
You do not need to practice competitive sports or intensive physical training to enjoy the benefits of physical exercise, the researchers say. "30 to 45 minutes of exercise a day, regardless of the type of exercise, are beneficial," says Scott Trappe.