Hot off the press! Yes, it’s true. Lifelong exercise (LLE) over 50 years can make a 72 year- old’s muscle look like that of a 25-year-olds. The study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology (1), compared three groups of people. One group was in their 70’s and exercised consistently for over 50 years. A second group consisted of old healthy, non-exercisers and a third group made up of young exercisers in the mid-20’s. Lifelong exercise was defined as 5 days/week for 7 hours/week over the past 51-53 years. Each subject performed exercise oxygen consumption analysis, underwent a muscle biopsy, and blood testing for metabolic enzyme evaluation.
According to the conclusion stated by the authors, “For skeletal muscle, 50 + years of aerobic exercise fully preserved capillarization and aerobic enzymes, regardless of intensity and that skeletal muscle metabolic fitness may be easier to maintain with lifelong aerobic exercise…”
Amazing news, right? If we continue to consistently exercise 5 days/week for a total of 7 hours, we can potentially maintain our muscle’s blood flow and oxygen use of our skeletal muscles… and reverse the signs of aging!
Let’s put this into perspective. What does aerobic exercise mean? It could be a spin class, walking on the treadmill, rowing machine, walking briskly on the beach or around the neighborhood, swimming, or doing other forms of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). The options for aerobic exercise and getting ourselves into shape are limitless!
When we make exercise a priority in our lives, we can preserve the optimal function in our skeletal muscles as well as other important organs, like our hearts and our brains. Again, this point needs to be stressed – it has to be consistent exercise 5 days/ week – not the weekend warrior route with trying to squeeze 7 hours into the weekend. Commitment to 5 days/week is essential.
What do you say? Want to make a commitment to keeping your muscles strong, healthy and vibrant looking like a 25-year-old’s? You can! Even if you haven’t exercised your whole life, you can start now. It’s never too late to start making smart choices and living your best life!
Please watch this FB live video recorded with me and special guest, Pete McCall, fitness expert and author of Smarter Workouts: The Science of Exercise Made Simple.
(1) Gries, KJ et al. Cardiovascular and skeletal muscle health with lifelong exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, Nov 2018 Published online: 26 November, 2018: