Rewards of Lifelong Exercise

Is regular exercise the key to maintaining youthfulness?

By Shirley Archer, JD, MA
Apr 22, 2019

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).

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Shirley Archer, JD, MA

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