Monday, May 10, 2010

Turn back the middle-age clock!

By Richard Alleyne
The Telegraph
September 22, 2009

Exercising for one hour a day for 12 weeks is enough to turn the clock back
nearly two decades for middle-aged women, scientists have found.

Research shows that over-50s who make regular visits to the gym, go for a
long bike ride or enjoy a swim can regain the fitness they had in their

Tests on older women revealed that 12 weeks of exercise was enough to
produce the rejuvenation.

Two studies by scientists at the University of California found that
postmenopausal women can achieve the same health benefits from regular,
vigorous exercise as younger women².

Professor George Brooks, an exercise physiologist, said: There is some good
news here for older women in the population, in that they respond much like
younger women do to training.

The women in our study had the cardiovascular and metabolic capabilities of
women sixteen years younger.

The results are very encouraging for exercise without weight loss as an
effective means for increasing vigour and controlling risk factors for
chronic diseases in older women.

The findings could explain why some high profile exercise fanatics appear
continue to look so healthy as they get older.

Madonna still works out at 51, television presenter Anne Robinson runs
regularly and does weight training at the age of 64, while Arlene Philips
has become a dance tsar at 66.

Dr Zinta Zarins, who carried out the experiments on women with an average
age of 55, found that the physical and hormonal changes which came with age
did not slow down their capacity to get fit.

She said: There have been very few studies looking at postmenopausal women,
who are different because of decreased oestrogen, decreased lean body mass
and decreased aerobic capacity.

Yet, despite changes in hormones and changes in body composition, they can
make significant changes in their cardiovascular fitness without going on
extreme diets.

Although the tests involved endurance training by cycling on an exercise
bike for an hour, five days a week, the researchers believed ³that even less
strenuous aerobic exercise was likely to produce some benefit².

The findings were published in the journal Metabolism and the Journal of
Applied Physiology.