We have all heard the saying, “life begins at 40.” Now, a new study suggests that endurance exercise can, too, while still providing the same heart benefits as it would if started before the age of 30.
The research team, including David Matelot of the Inserm 1099 unit at the University of Rennes in France, recently presented their findings at the EuroPRevent Congress in the Netherlands.
For their study, they assessed 40 healthy men from France aged between 55 and 70 years old. All participants were split into groups dependent on their levels of exercise and the age at which they began.
This resulted in three groups; one group had never exercised more than 2 hours a week throughout their lifetime, another group exercised at least 7 hours a week over 5 years and started before the age of 30, while the third group exercised at least 7 hours a week and started after the age of 40. Exercise in all groups involved either running or cycling.
From echocardiography results, the team found that the left ventricle and both atria in the heart were bigger in the two exercising groups, compared with the non-exercising group. The non-exercising group also had much thicker heart vessel walls than the exercising groups.
“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. However, endurance training is also beneficial for bone density, for muscle mass, for oxidative stress. And these benefits are known to be greater if training was started early in life.”, Matelot says.
Source: Medical News Today.