Over 80 but as healthy as a 20-year-old

Image caption Professor Norman Lazarus, from ages 82, has the immune system of a twenty year old

Doing lots of exercise within older age can prevent the defense mechanisms from declining and protect individuals against infections, scientists say.

They followed 125 long cyclists, some now in their 1980s, and found they had the immune system systems of 20-year-olds.

Prof Norman Lazarus, 82, associated with King’s College London, that took part in and co-authored the research, said: “If exercise was obviously a pill, everyone would be taking this.

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

The research was released in the journal Aging Cell.

Prof Janet Lord, movie director of the Institute of Inflammation and Aging , at the University of Luton, and co-author of the research, stated: “The immune system declines by about 2-3% a year from our 20s, which is why seniors are more susceptible to infections, conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and, potentially, cancer.

“Because the cyclists possess the immune system of a 20-year-old rather than a 70- or 80-year-old, it means they have additional protection against all these issues. inch

The researchers looked over markers in the blood for T-cells, which help the immune system respond to new infections.

These are produced in the thymus, a gland in the chest, which usually normally shrinks in size in adulthood.

‘Out associated with puff’

They discovered that the endurance cyclists were making the same level of T-cells as grown ups in their 20s, whereas a group of non-active older adults were producing few.

The researchers think that being physically active in senior years will help people respond better to vaccines, and so be better protected against bacterial infections such as flu.

Sam Harridge, co-author and professor of physiology at King’s College London , said: “Being sedentary goes towards evolution because humans are designed to be in physical form active.

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Media caption One seniors cyclist said he had the body body fat of a 19-year-old

“You don’t need to become a competitive athlete to reap the advantages – or be an stamina cyclist – anything which will get you moving and a little bit from puff will help. ”

Prof Harridge and Prof Lazarus believe that highly physically energetic older people represent the perfect group by which to analyse the true effects of natural ageing.

A separate document in Aging Cell found that this cyclists did not lose muscle mass or even strength, and did not see an increase within body fat – which are usually related to ageing.

I fulfilled a dozen of the cyclists, on a early morning ride in Surrey. Despite the sour cold, they were universally cheerful, plus clearly used to riding in all seasons.

They are members associated with Audax , a long-distance cycling company that organises events ranging from 100km to 300km.

The particular older members – in their 1980s – say they do only the “short” 100km (62-mile) rides, but this really is still highly impressive.

So why do they do this?

Pam Jones, 79, told me: “I do it meant for my health, because it’s friendly, and because I enjoy the freedom it provides you. ”

John Matkins, 82, said: “One from the first results I got from the healthcare study was I was told my figure fat was comparable to that of the 19-year-old. ”

From ages just 64, Jim Woods, is really a comparative youngster in the group. This individual averages 100 miles a week in the bike, with more during the summer.

He said: “I cycle for a sense of wellness and to enjoy our wonderful country. ”

Cycling sixty miles or more may not be your concept of fun, but these riders have found something which gives them pleasure, which is a essential reason why they continue.

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