While it is well-known that exercising daily is good for health, a new study has asserted that muscles of old women and men, who have been exercising daily are akin to healthy 25-year-olds. The study, as reported in The New York Times, has stated that these old people enjoy better aerobic capacities than their counterparts. To arrive at the result, that was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., examined a particular set of older men and women.
“We were very interested in people who had started exercising during the running and exercise booms of the 1970s,” says Scott Trappe, senior author of the study and director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State. Trappe went on to say that it was the people of that era who introduced other young men and women to physical activities. “They took up exercise as a hobby,” he says.
Some of them, the author says, even maintained the “hobby” for the next 50 or so years. Whether it was cycling, running, exercising or swimming, they were always involved in something or the other. These particular men and women, who are presently in their 70s, were considered and examined to arrive at the particular result.
In order to find them, they put up local advertisements. It helped them to locate 28 of such men and women, and seven among them were those who were involved in physical activity for almost 50 years. They also sought another group, those who had not exercised during their adulthood, and another young group in their 20s.
All these people were first asked to come to the lab and their aerobic capabilities were tested. With the help of tissue samples, the level of certain enzymes in their muscles and number of capillaries were also measured. High numbers for each of them is indicative of muscular health. The researchers mainly focussed on muscles and cardiovascular system as they inevitably become less robust with age.
The researchers had expected that the young people will have the most functional aerobic capabilities and the older ones would be most frail. But the result turned out to be on the contrary. It was deduced that the muscles of those old people who exercised resembled the younger ones. The former had as many capillaries and enzymes than the latter.
The study, however, has been unable to determine whether the muscle health was directly dependent on exercising or other factors like lifestyle, diet, income were also involved.