Health benefits from sport continue for years

Health benefits from sport continue for years

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Training done years ago still affects health

It has long been known that sport has a significant impact on our health. However, what has now been shown in a new study is astonishing. US researchers found that even training that we did years ago can still affect and improve our health today.

Sport has health effects not only in the short term

Health experts repeatedly emphasize the importance of sport for our body. Regular exercise can help you lose weight and help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and heart attack. As researchers have now found, the health benefits of physical activity last much longer than previously thought. The positive effects are retained even years after the training.

Movement brings lasting benefits

The training we did years ago can still affect and improve our health today.

This is shown by a new study on the current life and health of people who took part in a sports study years ago, the results of which were published in the journal "Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise" at that time.

The new results suggest that the benefits of exercise can be more sustainable than many would expect, even if people don't exercise to the same extent as before.

However, as the New York Times (NYT) reports, the impact can also depend on the type and amount of training.

Will the positive effect of the training remain in the long term?

According to the report, persistent health consequences from experiments are common in medicine.

For example, participants in previous diabetes trials whose blood sugar was strictly controlled by diet, medication, or other methods often had better heart health years later than diabetics outside the study, even though the subjects' blood sugar levels had increased in the meantime.

However, it was not known whether similar studies with long-term effects could also be observed in studies dealing with movement.

However, we know from other scientific and discouraging personal experiences that if we reduce the sport or stop exercising, a large part of our fitness and the associated health benefits will be lost.

But is there really no long-term positive effect of the training?

This is the question that scientists at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, were studying. The majority of these researchers were involved in an earlier study that ran from 1998 to 2003.

At that time, hundreds of overweight participants took part in various training programs as part of the so-called Strride Study (Studies Targeting Risk Reduction Interventions through Defined Exercise) and were monitored by the researchers.

In contrast to people in the non-active control group, the subjects showed improvements in the measured health markers fitness, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity and waist size.

The investigation continues after a ten-year break

After the experiments, the study participants were released. It was only ten years later that the scientists contacted them again.

More than a hundred of these people returned to the laboratory for new tests of their aerobic fitness and metabolic health.

They also filled out questionnaires about their current health and medication and how often they exercised each week.

The results of the new study were recently published in the frontiers in physiology journal.

Study participants were fitter even after years

As the researchers found, most men and women in the control group who had not exercised ten years ago now had larger waistlines, while athletes showed little or no waistline spread compared to the period of the first study.

In addition, the participants from the control group were now less fit. Most had lost about ten percent of their aerobic capacity.

According to the NYT, this is typical because most people over the age of 40 lose about one percent of their fitness every year.

However, the subjects who had exercised vigorously for eight months during the first study remained significantly more productive.

On average, their aerobic capacity was only about five percent lower than when they participated in the Strride study, and the few who reported exercising at least four times a week were now fitter than before a decade.

Interestingly, the Strride subjects who did moderate training didn't seem to have the same long-term fitness benefits as those who had exercised more.

Most of them had lost about ten percent of their aerobic capacity in the past decade, much like the people in the control group.

On the other hand, they showed surprisingly sustained improvements in their metabolic health, more than with the intensely exercising.

They still had healthier blood pressure and insulin sensitivity than before before taking Strride, even if they rarely exercised now.

They also had a healthier metabolism than the men and women who had worked out intensely all those years ago.

Lasting effects

Overall, these results suggest that "exercise is a powerful modulator for health and that some effects can be permanent," said William Kraus, professor of medicine and cardiology at Duke University, who oversaw the new study.

But the effects can also vary depending on how hard someone trains, the specialist says.

In order to build and maintain high endurance, we may need to sweat and strain. But a walk will probably be enough to improve our metabolic health.

Of course, this study does not explain how exercise changes our bodies in the long term. According to Dr. We could in part build up a physiological reserve.

If the aerobic capacity increases or the insulin sensitivity is improved with physical exertion, these effects will later decrease with inactivity and age, but this will help you do better than if you have never exercised.

Training is also likely to have a lasting impact on our genes and cells that affect health, says Dr. Kraus.

He and his colleagues hope to be able to examine the open questions in the upcoming studies so that we can better assess how physical training in the past affects our bodies well into the future. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Sport As Medicine and other Meanings of Sport and Physical Activity (September 2022).


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