If you were to tell clients they could have the heart health of a 40-year-old and the muscular fitness of someone in their 20s when they were in their 70s, they’d likely want to know more. Well, you could tell them this: A recent study found that lifelong exercisers averaging 75 years old had the cardiovascular health typical of someone in their early 40s and the muscular health of a 25-year-old. The key is to exercise regularly, year after year.

Ball State University researchers in Muncie, Indiana, compared heart health and muscular fitness among three groups of healthy people: 75-year-old lifelong exercisers, 75-year-old older adults without a regular exercise habit and 25-year-old regular exercisers. “We saw that people who exercise regularly year after year have better overall health. These 75-year-olds—men and women—have similar cardiovascular health to a 40- to 45-year-old,” said investigator Scott Trappe, PhD, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University. “Exercise wins is the take-home message.”

The study is available in the Journal of Applied Physiology (2018;doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00174.2018).

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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