Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Exercise Could Be The Heart's Fountain Of Youth

Date:
July 24, 2008
Source:
Washington University School of Medicine
Summary:
Older people who did endurance exercise training for about a year ended up with metabolically much younger hearts. The researchers also showed that by one metabolic measure, women benefited more than men from the training.

Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but endurance exercise seems to make it younger. According to a study conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, older people who did endurance exercise training for about a year ended up with metabolically much younger hearts. The researchers also showed that by one metabolic measure, women benefited more than men from the training.

"We know that the heart deteriorates as people get older, and that's largely because they don't stay as active as they used to," says first author Pablo F. Soto, M.D., instructor in medicine in the Cardiovascular Division. "Past research has suggested that exercise can reverse some effects of aging, and we wanted to see what effect it would have specifically on the heart."

The researchers measured heart metabolism in sedentary older people both at rest and during administration of dobutamine, a drug that makes the heart race as if a person were exercising vigorously. At the start of the study, they found that in response to the increased energy demands produced by dobutamine, the hearts of the study subjects didn't increase their uptake of energy in the form of glucose (blood sugar).

But after endurance exercise training -- which involved walking, running or cycling exercises three to five days a week for about an hour per session -- the participants' hearts doubled their glucose uptake during high-energy demand, just as younger hearts do.

Soto explains that if heart muscle doesn't take in glucose in response to increased energy needs, it goes into an energy-deprived state, which may raise the risk of heart attack. But if it can increase glucose uptake, the heart is better protected against ischemia (low oxygen) and heart attack.

Based on heart glucose metabolism, both the men and women in the study had the same rejuvenating benefit from their exercise programs. But the heart uses both glucose and fatty acids for energy. And when the researchers looked at fatty acid metabolism, they found a striking difference in the results of exercise training between women and men. In the men, the heart's fatty acid metabolism dropped in response to increased energy demand, but it went up in women.

"By that gauge, the women had a better response to exercise training than the men," Soto says. "At this point, the significance of that isn't clear. We know that in animal studies low fatty acid oxidation leads to heart muscle thickening and that when men train their heart muscle often gets thicker than women's. It could be that the increase in fatty acid oxidation in women's hearts with training is a reason why their hearts don't thicken as much."

The study participants were six men and six women, ages 60 to 75, who were not obese but who had been living an inactive lifestyle. They were put on an eleven-month program of endurance exercise under the careful guidance of a trainer.

For the first three months, they were required to exercise to about 65 percent of their maximum capacity. After that, the program was stepped up so participants reached about 75 percent of maximum. Soto says the volunteers enjoyed the experience and told him they felt in the best shape they had been in years.

The researchers tested the volunteers' heart metabolism before and at the end of their exercise programs by using PET scanning techniques. "Here at the School of Medicine, we are uniquely able to look at the metabolism of the heart because we have the right combination of technology and expertise in cardiology, radiology and radiochemistry," Soto says. "We are one of the few places that can do this kind of study."

Next, the research team will investigate exercise training in individuals with heart failure. "In the past heart failure patients were told to limit their activity," Soto says. "Now more and more we're seeing there is potentially a benefit to getting them as active as possible. We want to know if heart failure patients will experience the same benefit in heart metabolism with exercise that we saw for older people."

Funding from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supported this research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Soto et al. Exercise training impacts myocardial metabolism of older individuals in a gender-specific manner. AJP Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 2008; DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.91426.2007

Cite This Page:

Washington University School of Medicine. "Exercise Could Be The Heart's Fountain Of Youth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080723134431.htm>.
Washington University School of Medicine. (2008, July 24). Exercise Could Be The Heart's Fountain Of Youth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080723134431.htm
Washington University School of Medicine. "Exercise Could Be The Heart's Fountain Of Youth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080723134431.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins