The human body retains the ability to adapt to exercise at any age, proving that it is never too late to start a fitness program.
For lessons on how to age well, the worst thing we can do is turn to it Richard Morgan. At the age of 93 years, The Irishman is a four-time world indoor rowing champion, with the aerodynamic drive of a healthy 30 or 40 year old and the body fat percentage of a greyhound (greyhound). He's also the subject of a new case study, published last month in the Journal of Applied Physiology, that looked at his training, diet and physiology.
Their results indicate that, in many ways, He is an example of healthy and fit aging: a non-aging person with the heart, muscles and lungs of someone less than half his age. But in other ways, he's a normal: a former baker and drum maker with creaky knees who didn't exercise regularly until he was 70 and still trains mostly in his backyard shed.
Although his fitness routine began later in life, he has rowed nearly 10 times around the world and won four world championships. So, the researchers wondered, what effect would exercise in old age have on an aging body?
Lessons about aging from active seniors
“We need to monitor very active older people if we want to understand aging.”Bas van Houren, a doctoral researcher at Maastricht University in the Netherlands and one of the study's authors, said.
There are still many unanswered questions about the biology of aging and whether the physical slowdown and decline in muscle mass that typically occurs as we age is normal and inevitable or perhaps due, at least in part, to a lack of exercise.
If some people stay strong and fit deeply into their golden years, he said, that means many of us can too.
Fortunately, his colleague Lorcan Daly, an assistant professor of exercise science at Shannon University of Technology in Ireland, was familiar with the example of successful aging. His grandfather is Morgan, the 2022 World Indoor Rowing Champion in the lightweight division, age group 90-94.
What made Morgan particularly interesting to researchers was that He did not start exercising or doing physical exercises until he was 73 years old. He was retired but still had something to offer, and attended rowing practices with one of his other grandchildren, a competitive collegiate rower. The trainer invited him to use one of the machines.
'He never looked back' Daly said.
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