Forever Young

For centuries, people have mused about a mythical water source said to be capable of reversing the aging process and curing sickness. And though the elusive Fountain of Youth has never been found, a new discovery brings renewed hope about keeping your body looking and feeling younger. Researchers in Europe found that regular exercise may be a sort of….Fountain of Youth.

From NBC News:

Here’s more evidence that regular exercise really is the best medicine: avid cyclists as old as 79 had healthy muscle and immune function as good as people 30 years younger who did not exercise.

But they also looked as healthy, biologically, as a group of people aged 20 to 36 who did not exercise, the team reported in the journal Aging Cell.

By some measures, their bodies had not aged at all.

“It really tells us that staying physically active all of your adult life can prevent much of what we think of as aging, including immune aging,” said Janet Lord, who directs the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing at the University of Birmingham.

According to HealthDay.com, “The findings “debunk the assumption that aging automatically makes us more frail,” said researcher Janet Lord. She is director of the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing at the University of Birmingham in England.

“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,” Lord added.

Science Daily added, “More surprisingly, the study also revealed that the benefits of exercise extend beyond muscle as the cyclists also had an immune system that did not seem to have aged either. An organ called the thymus, which makes immune cells called T cells, starts to shrink from the age of 20 and makes less T cells. In this study, however, the cyclists’ thymuses were making as many T cells as those of a young person.”

United Press International (UPI) quoted researcher Niharika Arora Duggal, also from the University of Birmingham, as saying, “We hope these findings prevent the danger that, as a society, we accept that old age and disease are normal bedfellows, and that the third age of man is something to be endured and not enjoyed.”

But one of the best quotes from this research comes to us from Prof Norman Lazarus, 82, of King’s College London, who took part in and co-authored the research. Lazarus told BBC News:

“If exercise was a pill, everyone would be taking it.”

We’d love to hear what you think about that. If exercise really was a pill, would you take it? We’d also like to hear your thoughts on this new research and whether you believe exercise might be the fountain of youth we have been seeking for hundreds of years. Generating meaningful conversations around the health stories making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

 

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