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Exercise Reverses Aerobic Decline

Feeling winded and out of breath doesn’t have to be an inevitable, immutable aspect of aging. While it’s true that some loss of aerobic capacity (i.e., the body’s ability to transport needed oxygen to the muscles) is a function of age, much of the decline reflects reduced physical activity levels. Now, new research suggests that by exercising more, you can prevent and even reverse some reduction in aerobic capacity.

A University of Washington Seattle study found that by adopting a simple exercise regimen (e.g., walking, running or cycling for an hour, three days a week for six months), previously inactive seniors improved their ability to provide their muscles with the energy needed for exertion. In fact, when seniors (65 to 79) were matched against younger study subjects (20 to 33), the older individuals made even greater relative strides in improved aerobic efficiency.

As previously reported in the DNN, the more you’re able to maintain your exercise capacity, the longer you’re likely to live. Exercise is also a natural way to boost levels of human growth hormone and elevate your mood. Plus, working out counteracts middle-age spread and bone loss. So, stop the excuses that are holding you back, and start exercising yourself younger today!

Published February 1, 2007

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