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 2018

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...
23 Sep 2018 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
EXOS founder Mark Verstegen: 'gym operators need to realise the landscape is changing'
EXOS founder Mark Verstegen: 'gym operators need to realise the landscape is changing'   21 Sep 2018

Mark Verstegen, founder and CEO of human performance specialist EXOS, has said that health clubs and gyms need to become better at delivering results, .... more>>
Myzone secures Snap Fitness partnership deal
Myzone secures Snap Fitness partnership deal   21 Sep 2018

Fitness tech firm Myzone has signed a deal with Snap Fitness which will see the franchise operator's clubs in the US, Australia and New Zealand .... more>>
Dr Marilyn Glenville to lead two-day wellness retreat at Gaia Spa at Boringdon Hall
Dr Marilyn Glenville to lead two-day wellness retreat at Gaia Spa at Boringdon Hall   21 Sep 2018

Gaia Spa at Boringdon Hall in Plymouth, UK will be hosting a two-night women's wellness retreat on 28 and 29 September. Designed to help women .... more>>
UNSW demonstrates how future buildings could adapt to human behaviour
UNSW demonstrates how future buildings could adapt to human behaviour   21 Sep 2018

Will buildings of the future change shape to respond to your behaviour? Possibly, say researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Built .... more>>
Buried treasures: China’s Dune Art Museum’s construction nearly complete
Buried treasures: China’s Dune Art Museum’s construction nearly complete   21 Sep 2018

A unique new art gallery that is buried in a sand dune is close to completing construction on the coast of Bohai Bay in northern China. Spanning a .... more>>
Work begins on Feyenoord's academy building and sports campus
Work begins on Feyenoord's academy building and sports campus   21 Sep 2018

Construction has begun on the new Feyenoord Academy and Sports Club Feyenoord in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Designed by MoederscheimMoonen .... more>>
Company profile


Proinsight Research Ltd

Our main services are mystery shopping, internal audits and consumer research.

View full profile>>

Catalogue gallery


Featured Supplier

 Elemental Herbology launches  new Coconut Shell Cream Body Scrub Treatment

Elemental Herbology launches new Coconut Shell Cream Body Scrub Treatment

Elemental Herbology is delighted to announce a new, full-body exfoliating treatment designed to gently buff and polish, for healthy, glowing skin. More>>




in this issue

• PHE: prevention key to NHS strategy
• Jetts Fitness targets further UK growth
• GNH merges with Hotel Partnership



Latest jobs

Jobs Search



Operations Manager
Salary: Circa £22,000 dependant on qualifications and experience
Location: Thetford, UK
Company: Parkwood Leisure
Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)
Location: Surrey, UK
Company: GLL
Recreation Assistant
Location: Surrey, UK
Company: GLL
Diary dates
Powered by leisurediary.com




24 Apr - 26 Nov 2018

MAPIC Russia

Expocentre, Moscow, Russia



Leisure Management magazine 2018 issue 1
Leisure Management
2018 issue 1

View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
  Profile: Stephen Hulme
We look back on the career of Everyone Active CEO Stephen Hulme More>>
  Social good: Ivo Gormley
GoodGym founder Ivo Gormley fights back against loneliness in society More>>


Leisure Management magazine 2016 issue 1

Leisure Management
2016 issue 1

View issue contents
View turning pages
Download PDF
  Social good: Winds of change
Learn about the Change Foundation and the opportunities it creates More>>
  Interview: Tony Butler
Derby Museums Trust executive director delivers social justice in museums 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