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The Connection Between Exercise and Youth

By HealthLife Contributor
Updated: June 27, 2008
Many people often wonder how exercise, something that can feel tiring and essentially involves the hard use of your body, can possibly help you look and feel younger. If you are a little bit reluctant to get involved in an exercise regimen because you think it will leave you feeling more tired than before, take a look at some of the results from a study that was conducted over a span of thirty years.

The Original Experiment

To test the effects of weightlessness on the diet and fitness of astronauts, five twenty year old men were placed on bed rest for twenty days. Their movement was very limited and in this short span of time they experienced loss in the ability of work they were able to do. Also, a decrease in their cardiovascular fitness was also noticed. It took them two months of intense exercise and training to bring them back to their original capacity.

The Follow-Up

Thirty years later, the researchers who ran the first experiment tracked down the original five men, now in their fifties. This time, the men in question were measured in terms of their cardiovascular fitness and their general aerobic capability; the results of this measurement suggested a strong correlation between their current state and the state they were in after twenty days of bed rest while they were in their twenties. Then, they underwent specifically designed training that was tailored to meet their needs, and within six months of moderate aerobic exercise, all five men were restored to the original level of fitness that they had started in, thirty years prior.
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Though the fact that the men in question were all healthy to begin with, and had not suffered any debilitating illness in the thirty years between the two measurements should be kept in mind, there is a clear connection between bed rest and lack of cardiovascular health and between health and fitness. The men in this study produced some fascinating results when they showed that a level of youthful vigor could be retained and even regained with regular exercise.

What Does This Mean For Me?

The important thing to remember is that it is never too late to get started. Start small and you'll find that your endurance will increase day to day. There are many different programs of exercise that you can engage in, and with a little bit of tailoring and thinking, you'll be able to find the one that keeps you feeling great! Be patient and think constantly about how the exercise is helping you, and you'll soon start seeing some very impressive results!
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