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Staying fits delays ageing

1st October 2009

Maintaining aerobic fitness through middle age and beyond can delay biological ageing by up to 12 years, the results of a new study indicate.

Furthermore, those who remain fit are also more likely to have prolonged independence during old age.

According to the researchers, aerobic exercise, such as jogging, improves the body’s oxygen consumption and energy levels. They found that aerobic power starts to fall steadily from middle age. However regular exercise can slow or reverse this decline, even in later life.

In fact, relatively high intensity aerobic exercise over a relatively long period boosted aerobic power by 25%, which is equivalent to 10-12 biological years.

"There seems good evidence that the conservation of maximal oxygen intake increases the likelihood that the healthy elderly person will retain functional independence", the researchers explained.

They added that other positive benefits of maintaining aerobic fitness are a reduced risk of serious diseases, faster recovery after illness or injuries and a reduced risk of falls because of the maintenance of muscle power, balance and coordination.

Details of these findings are published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

© Irishhealth.com

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