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Study reveals benefits of vigorous walking, cuts aging process

Vigorous walking for about an hour a day five times a week can cut years off the biological aging process of people 64 years and older, according to research published earlier this month in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The study of patients 64 years and older showed that a vigorous walking regimen boosts maximal oxygen intake by about 25 percent within three months, which effectively decreases biological age by about 12 years, Roy Shephard, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Toronto, said in his report posted online.
This could also extend a patient’s functional independence, which declines when optimal oxygen intake drops below 18 mL/kg/min for men and 15 mL/kg/min for women during the aging process.

Furthermore, the benefits of aerobic exercise increase the longer it is performed, researchers said, explaining that a program of endurance training could offset the expected loss of 5 mL/kg/min in maximal oxygen intake per decade, which equates to about 10 years of biological age.
Researchers reviewed a number studies that revealed a trend toward greater gains in aerobic fitness with a longer training regimen. For example, average gains were nearly 13 percent in an eight- to 10-week program; more than 14 percent in a 12- to 18-week program, and nearly 17 percent with 24 to 52 weeks of training.
Those studies that used a high-intensity regimen reached the gains of 25 percent, which equals an increase in maximal oxygen intake of 6 mL/kg/min or a decrease of about 12 years of biological age.
Shephard noted that aerobic fitness may indirectly affect other conditions likely to diminish functional capacity, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, myo-cardial infarction, stroke, some forms of cancer, and osteoporosis. Exercise also hastens recovery from injuries and any additional muscle power may prevent falls, he added.
Source: MedPage Today


Friday, April 25, 2008
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