CLEVELAND – Those who are hunting for ways to age gracefully might want to dust off their bicycles – recent research suggests regular cycling may slow the aging process.
Researchers studied the immune systems of 125 people between the ages of 55 and 79 who cycled regularly as adults, and compared them to people who didn’t exercise.
Cleveland Clinic’s Ronan Factora, M.D. did not take part in the study, but said the evidence showed robust physical activity, like cycling, may stave off certain effects of aging.
“What they found was that individuals who are really physically active – the master cyclists – all of the markers of inflammation that are associated with aging were all lower,” said Dr. Factora.
Results also showed that the cyclists had stronger immune systems, better muscle mass and less inflammation in their bodies.
Dr. Factora said inflammation is part of the normal aging process and can lead to arthritis and heart problems.
He added that other studies have shown that physical activity is good for the heart; helps maintain blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and is important for brain health.
According to Dr. Factora, cyclists in the study also reported feeling more energetic and healthier than their inactive counterparts.
“If you think about all the benefits of physical activity, they are more than any pill could give,” said Dr. Factora. “It should encourage people to be more physically active; to engage in some sort of physical activity; to get up off the couch and do more.”