NEWS
Study: exercise in old age prevents immune system from declining
POSTED 13 Mar 2018 . BY Tom Walker
Regular exercise in older age can prevent the human immune system from declining and protect people against illness, according to a study by King's College London and the University of Birmingham.

A study of amateur, older cyclists found that many had levels of physiological function that would place them at a much younger age, when compared to the general population.

The study, published in the Aging Cell journal, observed 84 male and 41 female cycling enthusiasts – aged 55 to 79 – in order to explore how the ageing process affects the human body and whether specific physiological markers can be used to determine your age.

For the study, Cyclists were recruited to exclude the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, which can aggravate health problems and cause changes in the body, which might appear to be due to the ageing process.

The men had to be able to cycle 100 km in under 6.5 hours, while the women had to be able to cycle 60 km in 5.5 hours. Smokers, heavy drinkers and those with high blood pressure or other health conditions were excluded from the study.

Participants underwent two days of laboratory testing at King’s College and each participant was given a physiological profile which included a wide range of measures – from cardiovascular, respiratory, neuromuscular and metabolic to endocrine and cognitive functions.

Volunteers’ reflexes, muscle strength, oxygen uptake during exercise and peak explosive cycling power were also determined.

The study showed that loss of muscle mass and strength did not occur in those who exercise regularly. The cyclists also did not increase their body fat or cholesterol levels with age and the men’s testosterone levels also remained high, suggesting that they may have avoided most of the male menopause.

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.

The findings come as figures show that less than half of over 65s do enough exercise to stay healthy and more than half of those aged over 65 suffer from at least two diseases.

"The findings emphasise the fact that the cyclists do not exercise because they are healthy, but that they are healthy because they have been exercising for such a large proportion of their lives," said professor Stephen Harridge, director of the Centre of Human & Aerospace Physiological Sciences at King’s College London.

“Their bodies have been allowed to age optimally, free from the problems usually caused by inactivity. Remove the activity and their health would likely deteriorate.”

Dr Ross Pollock, lead author of the paper from King’s College London, added: “A sedentary lifestyle causes physiological problems at any age. Hence the confusion as to how much the decline in bodily functions is due to the natural ageing process and how much is due to the combined effects of ageing and inactivity.

“In many models of ageing lifespan is the primary measure, but in human beings this is arguably less important than the consequences of deterioration in health. Healthy life expectancy – our healthspan - is not keeping pace with the average lifespan, and the years we spend with poor health and disabilities in old age are growing.”
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2019

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS
 
Leisure Management - Study: exercise in old age prevents immune system from declining...
22 Mar 2019 Leisure Management: daily news and jobs
 
 
HOME
JOBS
NEWS
FEATURES
PRODUCTS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION
PRINT SUBSCRIPTION
ADVERTISE
CONTACT US
Sign up for FREE ezine
Latest news

13 Mar 2018

Study: exercise in old age prevents immune system from declining
BY Tom Walker

The study found that those who keep physically active had levels of physiological function that would place them at a much younger age, when compared to the general population

The study found that those who keep physically active had levels of physiological function that would place them at a much younger age, when compared to the general population
photo: Shutterstock

Regular exercise in older age can prevent the human immune system from declining and protect people against illness, according to a study by King's College London and the University of Birmingham.

A study of amateur, older cyclists found that many had levels of physiological function that would place them at a much younger age, when compared to the general population.

The study, published in the Aging Cell journal, observed 84 male and 41 female cycling enthusiasts – aged 55 to 79 – in order to explore how the ageing process affects the human body and whether specific physiological markers can be used to determine your age.

For the study, Cyclists were recruited to exclude the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, which can aggravate health problems and cause changes in the body, which might appear to be due to the ageing process.

The men had to be able to cycle 100 km in under 6.5 hours, while the women had to be able to cycle 60 km in 5.5 hours. Smokers, heavy drinkers and those with high blood pressure or other health conditions were excluded from the study.

Participants underwent two days of laboratory testing at King’s College and each participant was given a physiological profile which included a wide range of measures – from cardiovascular, respiratory, neuromuscular and metabolic to endocrine and cognitive functions.

Volunteers’ reflexes, muscle strength, oxygen uptake during exercise and peak explosive cycling power were also determined.

The study showed that loss of muscle mass and strength did not occur in those who exercise regularly. The cyclists also did not increase their body fat or cholesterol levels with age and the men’s testosterone levels also remained high, suggesting that they may have avoided most of the male menopause.

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.

The findings come as figures show that less than half of over 65s do enough exercise to stay healthy and more than half of those aged over 65 suffer from at least two diseases.

"The findings emphasise the fact that the cyclists do not exercise because they are healthy, but that they are healthy because they have been exercising for such a large proportion of their lives," said professor Stephen Harridge, director of the Centre of Human & Aerospace Physiological Sciences at King’s College London.

“Their bodies have been allowed to age optimally, free from the problems usually caused by inactivity. Remove the activity and their health would likely deteriorate.”

Dr Ross Pollock, lead author of the paper from King’s College London, added: “A sedentary lifestyle causes physiological problems at any age. Hence the confusion as to how much the decline in bodily functions is due to the natural ageing process and how much is due to the combined effects of ageing and inactivity.

“In many models of ageing lifespan is the primary measure, but in human beings this is arguably less important than the consequences of deterioration in health. Healthy life expectancy – our healthspan - is not keeping pace with the average lifespan, and the years we spend with poor health and disabilities in old age are growing.”



Connect with
Leisure Management
Magazine:
View issue contents
Sign up:
Instant Alerts/zines

Print edition
 

News headlines
Stephan Wagner named director of spa & wellbeing at Grand Resort Bad Ragaz
Stephan Wagner named director of spa & wellbeing at Grand Resort Bad Ragaz   22 Mar 2019

The Grand Resort Bad Ragaz in Switzerland has appointed Stephan Wagner as director of spa & wellbeing. Wagner brings over 20 years of international .... more>>
New Rockhampton art gallery goes ahead as government funding announced
New Rockhampton art gallery goes ahead as government funding announced   22 Mar 2019

The award of a federal government funding grant to the tune of AU$10m (US$7.1m, €6.25m, £5.35m) will see plans advance for the development of a new .... more>>
Faroe Islands prepare for summer rush by saying no to tourism in April
Faroe Islands prepare for summer rush by saying no to tourism in April   21 Mar 2019

In a bid to tackle rising overtourism, the Faroe Islands is closing its doors to visitors next month, with a team of volunteers set to spend three .... more>>
Henning Larsen unveil plans to create sea cave-like extension for Faroese hotel
Henning Larsen unveil plans to create sea cave-like extension for Faroese hotel   21 Mar 2019

Danish design office Henning Larsen have revealed renderings of their proposed topography-inspired expansion of the Hotel Tórshavn in the Faroe .... more>>
Anna Pierzak named spa director at Royal Champagne Hotel
Anna Pierzak named spa director at Royal Champagne Hotel   21 Mar 2019

Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa has appointed Anna Pierzak as its new spa director. In her new role, Pierzak will bring innovative wellness experiences to .... more>>
Kengo Kuma's wood market-inspired museum on track for summer opening
Kengo Kuma's wood market-inspired museum on track for summer opening   21 Mar 2019

The Kengo Kuma-designed Odunpazarı Modern Museum (OMM) is slated to launch in Eskisehir, Turkey – the former "Turkic World" capital of culture – in .... more>>
Company profile


Ridgeway Furniture Manufacturing Limited

Our commitment is to manufacture and install all products directly to clients, fully meeting and beating their expectations.

View full profile>>

Catalogue gallery


Featured Supplier

Helping your business prosper in 2019

Helping your business prosper in 2019

The Natural Beauty & Spa Show returns to Excel London on 7 & 8 April. More>>




in this issue

• DLL to reach 100th UK club landmark
• Boutique fitness sector 'still thriving'
• Armathwaite launches 'Lemoga' experience



Latest jobs

Jobs Search



Duty Manager
Salary: £19000 - £20002 per annum
Location: Kent, England
Company: Mytime Active
Personal Trainer / Fitness Trainer
Salary: 100% of your PT earnings
Location: Horsham, UK
Company: The Gym Group
Personal Trainer
Salary: 100% of your PT earnings
Location: Shirley, Solihull, UK
Company: The Gym Group
Diary dates
Powered by leisurediary.com




25-27 Mar 2019

Dubai Entertainment Amusement and Leisure Exhibition (DEAL)

Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates



Leisure Management magazine 2018 issue 1
Leisure Management
2018 issue 1

View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
  Tourism: Right to roam
Sweden is inviting everyone to come and stay – and indulge in a spot of wild camping. Jenny Kaiser from VisitSweden talks about the initiative More>>
  Fitness: Hybrid fitness
ESPA Life at Corinthia's 'revolutionary' new fitness service, BodySPace More>>


Leisure Management magazine 2016 issue 1

Leisure Management
2016 issue 1

View issue contents
View turning pages
Download PDF
  Editor’s letter: Failing the elderly
Liz Terry shares her thoughts More>>
  Thermal Spa: Taking the waters
Magali Robathan met the key people behind the Gainsborough Bath Spa More>>


Published by The Leisure Media Company Ltd Portmill House, Portmill Lane, Hitchin, Herts SG5 1DJ. Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 | Contact us | About us | © Cybertrek Ltd