Run for your life. Really. This study followed a number of people in their 70’s and found that those who exercised regularly had the heart and lung capacity of people in their 40’s.
A new study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology has determined that septuagenarians — folks in their 70s — who have been exercising regularly for decades are about as strong and have the heart and lung capacities of healthy people in their 40s.
“Exercise wins is the take-home message,” says lead author and director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University Dr. Scott Trappe. “We saw that people who exercise regularly year after year have better overall health.”
Researchers compared people who cranked cardio about five days (seven hours average) per week to those with similar health habits in their 40s, as well as sedentary septuagenarians. They assessed heart health by having participants ride an indoor bike and measuring their maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max). Muscle biopsies determined capillary health and the presence of aerobic enzymes.
Decreased VO2 max may increase the risk of multiple chronic diseases and mortality. For most, VO2 max declines by about 10 percent per decade after 30.
“[But] these 75-year-olds have similar cardiovascular health to a 40- to 45-year-old,” says Trappe.