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It's never too late to reap the benefits.

If middle-aged men are any indication, the tides of time need not rob any of us of our youthful edge. In a recent study published in the journal Circulation, the effects of a 30-year layoff were reversed with six months of exercise training. The study began with five healthy 20-year-old men in 1966 in research designed to examine the effects of three weeks of bed rest on aerobic capacity. After a six-month program of aerobic exercise that gradually increased to one hour, four to five times a week, they regained the fitness lost during the previous 30 years.

These findings were surprising in two ways. First, time had taken its toll on these men. Their weight had increased by 25%, body fat had doubled, and aerobic capacity had decreased by 11% during the 30 year-period. Despite that, they were able to achieve the same degree of cardiovascular fitness they had as 20-year-olds with a regular, moderate exercise program.

This is encouraging to anyone whose fitness routines are interrupted--it's never too late to get it back. A second and even more surprising finding was uncovered in this study; three weeks of bed rest at 20 years of age was worse for physical capacity than three decades of aging. Despite the implications for potential layoffs, don't despair: the loss is always reversible.

(Circulation, 2001, Vol. 104, pp. 1350-1357)
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Title Annotation:exercise and middle age men
Publication:Running & FitNews
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2001
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