A new study of the effect of exercise on aging found that active older people resemble much younger people physiologically. It is believed that to a large degree how we age is up to us, and the inevitability of physical decline as we grow older may be incorrect.
Scientists have not been able to establish definitively whether the aging process results primarily from the passage of time. However, there is more of a consensus that living a sedentary lifestyle, something that many older people do, has more of an effect on physical decline then aging does.
The scientists at King's College London and the University of Birmingham in England removed inactivity as a factor in their study of aging by looking at the health of older people who move quite a bit.
The scientists recruited 85 men and 41 women aged between 55 and 79. All the volunteers were serious recreational cyclists, but not competitive athletes. The men had to be able to ride at least 62 miles in six and a half hours and the women 37 miles in five and a half hours. These would act as benchmarks for a high degree of fitness in their age group.
These scientists then determined each cyclist's endurance capacity, muscular mass and strength, pedaling power, metabolic health, balance, memory function, bone density, and reflexes. They compared the range of participants in the study (age 55 - 79) to the group and to a control group of 'normal' group of people.
The cyclists did not show their age. The cyclists physical functioning stayed stable across ages 55 - 79. Compared to the 'normal' group of people, the cyclists were much closer to young adults then people their age.
Of course, some process of aging effects older people more than younger people like less muscular power in the older segment of cyclists. However, on paper a doctor would not be able to tell the difference between a cyclists and someone in a younger age group.
So I'm telling you, not only is cycling a ton of fun but you get to live longer and healthier when you do it.!