A new study from the European Society of Cardiology encourages endurance training in adults, specifically for men who are 40 years of age and older.
The study found there is a positive correlation with heart-related benefits when the men took up training, thus proving it is never too late to start exercising to reap its advantages.
Researchers divided a group of 40 healthy men between the ages of 55 and 70, with no known heart issues, into three smaller groups. Ten of the men had never completed more than two hours of cycling or running a week. Of the 30 remaining men, who were considered regular “relatively intensive” exercisers, 16 had started training before age 30 and 14 had started after age 40.
When the researchers tested the men on fitness measures, such as heart rate and oxygen uptake, both groups of men who trained regularly fared about equally and significantly better than their peers who had never trained.
“Thus, despite biological changes with age, the heart still seems — even at the age of 40 — amenable to modification by endurance training. Starting at the age of 40 does not seem to impair the cardiac benefits,” says study author Dr. David Matelot of the French Institute of Health and Medical Research, in a European Society of Cardiology news release.
The study results were presented this week at the annual congress of the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, held in Amsterdam.
For other advantages from endurance training, such as bone density and muscle mass, the benefits were greater for those who started training at an earlier age.
Although physical activity does not stop age-related decline in heart structure and function, it can slow it down.
“It’s never too late to change your way of life and get more physically active,” Matelot added. “This will always be beneficial for the heart and well-being. And there’s no need for a high level of training for many hours a week. Using the stairs rather than the elevator, or gardening regularly, can also be beneficial.”
S.C. Rhyne is a blogger and novelist in New York City. Follow the author on Twitter @ReporterandGirl, http://Facebook.com/TheReporterandTheGirl and visit her website at http://www.SCRhyne.com