Lifelong Exercisers Age More Successfully


The average adult loses approximately 10% of their aerobic capacity, VO2 Max, each decade after age 30. Aerobic capacity is the ability of our bodies to utilize oxygen for work and exercise. The loss of aerobic capacity with aging is associated with the development of chronic diseases, as well as, a loss of function and independence in aging adults. As we have noted in previous blogs these health risks can be reduced by daily exercise. Despite the noted physical, mental, and emotional benefits close to 80% of Americans to not reach federal guidelines for weekly exercise. A recent research study reports lifelong exercise may have a preventative effect on the loss of aerobic capacity and cardiovascular health with aging.

Gries and colleagues in the Journal of Applied Physiology examined the effects of lifelong aerobic exercise on aerobic capacity and aging (2018). Authors compared lifelong exercisers to their untrained peers, as well as, young exercisers. They reported lifelong exercisers reported on average 7 hours of weekly exercise (5 days/week) over a 50 year period. Each of the three groups underwent VO2 max testing of aerobic capacity and a muscle biopsy from their thigh. Authors reported lifelong exercisers had cardiovascular systems which tested similar to those of individuals 30 years younger. Further, biopsy results appeared similar between the older lifelong exercisers and the younger, active participants.

This study adds to the overwhelming benefits of exercise on your health and the aging process.