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Racing against age: Health impairment primarily due to bad lifestye habits -- not aging, researchers argue

Date:
December 6, 2010
Source:
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International
Summary:
Impairments to health and physical performance are not primarily a result of aging but of unfavorable lifestyle habits and lack of exercise, argue researchers in a new article.

Impairments to health and physical performance are not primarily a result of aging but of unfavorable lifestyle habits and lack of exercise. This is the position taken by Dieter Leyk and his coauthors in the new issue of Deutsches Δrzteblatt International.

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Sporty elderly people have a life expectancy that is almost 4 years higher and are often faster than younger athletes.

In their study, the sports scientists analyzed the stamina of more than 600 000 marathon and half marathon runners and asked participants about their lifestyle habits and their health. Marathon running is particularly suitable for studying because participants have to put in sufficient training hours for the competition, and the athletes accommodate this into their day accordingly.

Unfavorable characteristics such as obesity, smoking, and lack of physical activity are rarer in runners, and reductions in physical performance are more likely to be the result of biological aging processes. These reductions make their presence felt only after the 54th year of life and are but slight. More than 25% of 50- to 69-year-olds had taken up running only in the preceding 5 years and participated in a marathon nonetheless. Of note: older participants do not have to train any harder to maintain their fitness than their younger rivals.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dieter Leyk, Thomas Rüther, Max Wunderlich, Alexander Sievert, Dieter Eίfeld, Alexander Witzki, Oliver Erley, Gerd Küchmeister, Claus Piekarski, Herbert Löllgen. Physical Performance in Middle Age and Old Age: Good News for Our Sedentary and Aging Society. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, 2010; 107 (46): 809-16 DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2010.0809

Cite This Page:

Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. "Racing against age: Health impairment primarily due to bad lifestye habits -- not aging, researchers argue." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101202124201.htm>.
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. (2010, December 6). Racing against age: Health impairment primarily due to bad lifestye habits -- not aging, researchers argue. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101202124201.htm
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. "Racing against age: Health impairment primarily due to bad lifestye habits -- not aging, researchers argue." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101202124201.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

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