Scott Trappe, professor of exercise science and the study’s senior author, said, “We were very interested in people who had started exercising during the running and exercise booms of the 1970s. They took up exercise as a hobby.”
Using social media, the researchers found 28 people maintained this level of activity for five decades. They also recruited two other groups: inactive 70-year-olds and fit 20-year-olds. The scientists tested the participants’ aerobic capacities and measured the number of capillaries and enzymes in their muscles – high levels of which demonstrate muscular health. Interestingly, the muscles of the older exercisers matched those of the 20-year-olds.
Similarly, they had far more capillaries and enzymes in their muscles than the inactive pensioners – meaning they had effectively staved-off the physical impact of old age. In fact, the only difference between both active groups – young and old – was a slightly decreased aerobic potential.