Cycling 'holds back the effects of ageing', study finds

Kenny Tucker
March 10, 2018

"It has wide-ranging benefits for the body, the mind, for our muscles and our immune system".

The positive effects of exercise on health have been studied, researched and officially proven to be highly beneficial.

Scientists did tests on 125 novice cyclists aged 55 to 79 and contrasted them and sound grown-ups from a wide age aggregate who did not exercise regularly.

Unlike a "control group" of adults who did not get regular exercise, the cyclists did not have loss of muscle mass or strength, did not have age-related increases in body fat or cholesterol levels, and their immune systems were as robust as much younger people.

The testosterone levels seen in male pensioners who cycled were the same as those in middle age, suggesting they had avoided the "male menopause".

Prof Janet Lord, executive of the Institute of Inflammation and Aging at the University of Birmingham, stated: "Hippocrates in 400BC said that exercise is man's best pharmaceutical, yet his message has been lost after some time and we are an undeniably inactive society".

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. Be that as it may, the thymuses of more seasoned cyclists were observed to create the same number of T-cells as those of youngsters.

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"However, importantly, our findings debunk the assumption that aging automatically makes us more frail". The researchers measured markers of health, such as blood pressure, muscle mass, cholesterol and T cells, which are important in keeping our immune systems healthy.

But now, researchers at the University of Birmingham and King's College London have found that doing exercise in older age can prevent the immune system from declining.

"Being sedentary goes against evolution because humans are created to be physically active", said Steve Harridge, co-author and professor of physiology at King's College London. "Remove the activity and their health would likely deteriorate", Harridge said in a statement.

The research findings are detailed in two papers published today in Aging Cell and are the result of an ongoing joint study by the two universities, funded by the BUPA foundation.

We already know that regular exercise reduces risk of diseases associated with aging, like cardiovascular problems.

"Find an exercise that you enjoy in whatever environment that suits you and make a habit of physical activity".

The researchers are planning to continue study the cyclists.

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