A new study suggests that 79-year-old cyclists can keep their bodies as healthy as those of 30-year-olds who do not exercise at all. Researchers found similar immune and muscle functions in the two groups.
In the study, scientists tested the immune response and muscles of elderly cyclists and compared the results to the bodies of much younger people who do not work out regularly.
- Surprisingly, even cyclists as old as 79 were in better shape in terms of muscles and immune systems than their peers that were 30 years younger but did not exercise.
- Seniors who exercised looked as healthy on a biological level as people in the 20-36 age range.
In other words, the bodies of elderly cyclists seemed to not age at all. Lead author Janet Lord believes that staying physically active during adulthood can prevent immune aging.
Seniors Had Healthier Bodies than Their Much Younger Peers
In the study, researchers analyzed muscle samples from both groups and took a look at their immune systems. The elderly cyclists were both men and women in the 55-79 age bracket who cycled for up to 60 miles daily at a rapid pace.
This group was compared to a group of couch potatoes their own age and a group of young people with the maximum age of 36 who were also inactive.
The cyclists had healthy cholesterol levels, showed no traces of muscle loss, and did not gain body fat as the inactive groups did. What’s more, cyclists’ immune systems looked 30 years younger than the immune systems of their middle-aged or older aged inactive peers.
Usually, people’s immune systems get weaker when hitting age 20, while muscles start to shed mass every year starting age 30. The active seniors in the study, on the other hand, did not lose any immune function at all, and their muscles were in optimal shape.
Image Source: Geograph.org.uk