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  • Colleen Broersma and Jessica Cline

Is 60 Really the New 30?

Aging is inevitable, but staying physically active throughout life can reduce your physiological decline, according to a new research study. The study looked at how older adults who were still physically active had the same physiological functioning as young adults. This research shows that aging is not just about the passage of time, but also about one’s lifestyle.

Being Physically Active Keeps You Young

The researchers looked at a group of older adults between the ages of 55 and 79 who were serious recreational bicyclists. They tested the cyclists on an array of physical and cognitive tests, including the Timed Up and Go test, during which someone stands up from a chair without using his or her arms, briskly walks about 10 feet, turns, walks back and sits down again.

The results of the tests were similar among cyclists of all ages, showing that the cyclists’ abilities were more dependent upon their activity levels than their age. The cyclists’ age differences were indistinguishable on almost all measures of physical functioning. The groups’ functioning was similar to that of a young adult including their levels of balance, reflexes, metabolic health and memory ability. The group also did considerably better on the Timed Up and Go test compared to their sedentary counterparts. Most older people take at least 7 seconds to complete the task, while the test group only took about 5 seconds, which is more in line with the time for healthy young adults.

Despite their excellent test scores the older adults did not elude all aspects of aging. The researchers did find that the older cyclists had less muscle power and mass, and lower aerobic capacities than the younger ones, but even these numbers were higher than what is considered average for their age. Overall though, the cyclists were in great shape physically and mentally. By just looking at their test scores one could not distinguish their actual age.

Aging - It's a Choice

This research shows that although physical decline is inevitable, we can reduce its effects and prolong our physical health with smart lifestyle choices, which include regular physical activity. How quickly you age and your quality of life in your later years is largely up to you.

To see how your lifestyle habits affect your age - check your biological age here:

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