Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

Cycling can hold back effects of ageing and may rejuvenate immune system

Cycling can hold back effects of ageing and may rejuvenate immune system

IT may be very good news for many in Oxford: a new study has found that cycling can hold back the effects of ageing and rejuvenate the immune system.

The cyclists were also shown to have lower body fat and lower cholesterol, and the men had higher levels of testosterone than is typical at a certain age.

The researchers followed 125 long-distance cyclists aged 55 to 79.

The researchers recruited 125 male and female healthy amateur cyclists, who were aged 55 to 79 and had been cycling for almost all of their adult lives.

"The data support the view that high levels of exercise training are able to maintain numerous properties of muscle which are negatively affected by aging when it is accompanied by sedentary behaviour", the authors wrote in their conclusion.

"However, importantly, our findings debunk the assumption that ageing automatically makes us more frail".

Researchers at the University of Birmingham and King's College London managed to find a connection between cycling as a hobby and the rate at which the human body ages.

The men had to be able to cycle 100 kilometers in under 6.5 hours, while the women had to be able to cycle 60 kilometers in 5.5 hours.

"We now have strong evidence that encouraging people to commit to regular exercise throughout their lives is a viable solution to the problem that we are living longer but not healthier", said Janet Lord from the University of Birmingham in the UK.

This group consisted of 55 young adults aged 20 to 36 and 75 older adults aged 57 to 80. But the muscle levels of older cyclists were the same as people in their twenties.

The positive effects of exercise on health have been studied, researched and officially proven to be highly beneficial. But a new study reveals that it can also protect the immune system.

What is even more astonishing is that a cyclists' thymus, which creates immune cells, was producing as many T cells as it does in the body of a young person, despite the fact it normally starts to decline at the age of 20. This means middle-aged people who exercise will see the flu vaccine work better, are less likely to get infections and will be less unwell if they do. Their bodies have been allowed to age optimally, free from the problems usually caused by inactivity.

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