Finding your fountain of youth

Monday, October 7 2019 3:26 PM
By Genesis Genesis

– How exercise reverses the effects of aging

As we age cardiovascular health slowly declines. The heart rate of a 25-year-old produces the ability to pump over 2 ½ quarts of oxygen per minute throughout the body. Each year heart rate begins to decline, dropping 5 to 10 percent over the course of a decade. This decline is what creates diminished aerobic capacity over time, resulting in breathlessness and fatigue.

Imagine if you could turn the clock back on your body and regain the heart rate you had in your twenties, or if you are currently twenty and could maintain that heart rate for the rest of your life.

In 1996 researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School discovered that it is possible to regain the cardiovascular health of your twenties through regular endurance exercise.  Three men who had participated in a similar study during their twenties, returned to the University of Southwestern to have testing done to determine what aging effects had taken place over the course of 30 years.

On average the men had gained about 50 pounds, doubled in body fat and experienced an overall drop in cardiac activity. Following their initial assessment, they were prescribed a six-month exercise program that included walking, jogging and cycling. When they returned for additional testing at the end of the trial period it was discovered that heart rate, blood pressure, and pumping ability had returned to what it had been during their twenties, wiping away 30 years of cardiovascular decline. More information about the complete study is available on the Harvard Health website.

While exercise will not completely undo the effects of aging, it will help stave off many of the illnesses that are associated with growing older, preventing heart disease, osteoarthritis and dementia. As little as 30 minutes of brisk walking daily can provide the basics you need to maintain good health and a more complete fitness routine will build muscle mass, decrease body fat and sustain energy over time.

It is never too late to begin working out – the Silver Sneakers Fitness Program is a great way to ease into better health through activities like hiking, rock climbing and social outings. Check out the Group X Schedule in your area for class times. Only available in select locations.

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