Regular exercise is important for people of all ages, but new research published in the journal “Aging Cell” shows that it could be even more important for those of older age to keep a consistent regiment. Researchers kept track of 125 long-distance cyclists to evaluate the benefits of physical activity for the elderly. What they discovered was that the cyclists had immune systems comparable to that of a 20-year-old, as opposed to their actual ages (between 70 and 80).
“The immune system declines by about 2-3% a year from our 20s, which is why older people are more susceptible to infections, and conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and, potentially, cancer. Because the cyclists have the immune system of a 20-year-old rather than a 70 or 80-year-old, it means they have added protection against these issues,” says Professor Janet Lord, director of the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing at the University of Birmingham and co-author of the study.
A stronger immunity is characterized by a higher count of T-cells in the blood. These cells help the body react to infections, as well as manage new vaccines to assist in protecting against new infections.
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