We seek to look younger. And many really do - inside. Study reveals how those who work out for decades have muscles indistinguishable from those of 25-year-olds.
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We know that many older people experience frailty, illness and addiction.
But science has not established whether and to what extent decline is due to age.
Or if it is, at least partially, a byproduct of our lifestyles.
Factor that, if proven, could be subject to change.
But many studies have focused on professional athletes.
And not people who work out recreationally.
Now a new study has decided to examine older adults.
The research is from Ball State University (United States).
It analyzed 28 people, including seven women, who have been physically active over the past five decades.
They all started working out, running, cycling and / or swimming in the 1970s.
And they never stopped having taken exercise as a hobby.
For comparison, two more groups were also recruited.
One was people of the same age, but who did not exercise during adulthood.
The other consisted of active young people with an average age of 20 years.
In the laboratory, all were tested for their aerobic abilities.
Tissue samples were also taken, measuring the number of capillaries and the levels of certain enzymes in the muscles.
As a result, a surprise.
Rather than a noticeable difference, the muscles of older sportsmen resembled those of young people.
They turned out to have equal levels of capillarity and enzymes.
And much more (40%) than in the muscles of the sedentary elderly.
In general, it was estimated that the elderly and active group had cardiovascular health of people 30 years younger than them.
The discovery reveals two important things to us.
One is that the normal physical decay of aging can be partly prevented.
And because youthful muscles can make you live longer, longevity can become a hobby.
The study was published in Journal of Applied Physiology.