This week’s theme seems to be the power of consistency — a frequently touted message of mine, for sure. But while yesterday’s discussion focused on the benefits of long-term exercise to ward off dementia, there’s more to gain from physical activity than better brain health.
And I mean a lot more. In fact, new research shows that lifelong exercise might be the closest thing there is to a real-world “fountain of youth.”
A team of UK researchers recently recruited 125 amateur cyclists — all older, between the ages of 55 and 79, and healthy. (In order to qualify for this study, men had to be able to bike 62 miles in under 6.5 hours — and women had to be able to bike 37 miles in under 5.5 hours.)
After performing a series of tests, researchers compared results from this group to the results from a group of more sedentary adults. And let’s just say that the difference was like night and day:
- The regular cyclists maintained their muscle mass and strength in ways that their non-exercising peers did not.
- The regular cyclists didn’t suffer the usual age-related rises in body fat and cholesterol.
- Among the active men, testosterone stayed high — suggesting they may be able to avoid “manopause” altogether.
But here’s the most impressive part: Regular exercise also appeared to halt the aging of subjects’ immune systems.
I’ve talked to you before about the problem of immunosenesence — or as I like to call it, “immunity rot.” This phenomenon is dangerous. But it’s no mystery why it happens…
Unless you proactively do something to stop it, your body’s T-cell population tends to shrink with every year after age 20.
But in this study, at least, the cyclists were making as many T-cells as a person half their age. I don’t need to explain to you how big of a deal that is…
Let me simply remind you that a healthy immune system is your first line of defense, not only against infections, but also against chronic inflammation and all the potentially deadly diseases it can lead to — from heart disease to cancer.
According to one of this study’s lead authors: “Our research means we now have strong evidence that encouraging people to commit to regular exercise throughout their lives is a viable solution to the problem that we are living longer but not healthier.”
In other words, you don’t stop exercising because you get old — you get old because you stop exercising. You want to crush the odds, and beat Father Time at his own game?
Just keep moving. It’s as simple as that.
I talk about immunosenesence — and all ways you can keep your immunity at peak performance — in my October 2014 issue of Logical Health Alternatives (“Flu-proof your immune system in just three days”). Subscribers have access to this, as well as my entire archive. Click here to learn more, or sign up today.