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CAN EXERCISE REVERSE THE AGEING PROCESS?

[BBC NEWS]:- While many in their 80s and 90s may be starting to take it easy, 85 year old track star Irene Obera is at the other end of the spectrum.

Setting multiple world athletics records in her age category, she is one of a growing band of “master athletes” who represent the extreme end of what is physically possible later in life.

Another is John Starbrook, who at 87 became the oldest rubber to complete the 2018 London marathon.

Studies suggest regular exercise is more effective than any drug yet invented to prevent conditions facing older people, such as muscle loss.

To reap the full benefits, this pattern of behaviour should be laid down in a person’s teens and early 20s

The greater health of older exercisers compared to their sedentary counterparts can lead people to believe physical activity can reverse or slow down the ageing process.

But the reality is that these active older people are exactly as they should be.

In our distant past we were hunter-gatherers, and our bodies are designed to be physically active.

So, if an active 80-year-old has a similar physiology to an inactive 50-year-old, it is the younger person who appears older than they should be, not the other way around.

We often confuse the effects of inactivity with the ageing process itself, and believe certain diseases are purely the result of getting older.

Actually, our modern sedentary lifestyles have simply speeded up our underlying age-related decline. This contributes to the onset of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Many of us are simply not active enough. In England fewer than half of 16-24 year olds meet the recommendation for aerobic and muscle strengthening exercises; for 65-74 year-olds, it falls to fewer than one in 10.

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