Immune Systems, Aging, and Physical Activity
Recently there was an article published in the journal called Aging Cell and there was research done by King College of London by professor Janet Lord. They did research on 125 cyclists in the age group of 70-80 years old. They found that the immune system of this group of people to still be at the level of 20 year olds! The general conclusion of this fairly scientific article is that physical activity prevents decline in the immune system’s T-cells production. T-Cells are produced by the Thymus Gland which shrinks with aging. The immune system starts to decline on average 2 to 3 percent per year from the age of about 25 years old. This research, as well as a few others, found that physically active people are also losing much less muscle mass, and cyclists in particular, are gaining no extra fat which is usually associated with aging.
If there were a magic wand or pill which could substitute exercising I think we would have much healthier people around in their 70’s and 80’s, unfortunately there’s no magic wand and this very recent research just confirms the notion that as difficult as it is with aging, we need to stay physically active and push ourselves to do even a little exercise. You don’t need to be a competitive athlete in the past to get the benefits for your immune system but with the diminishing muscle mass due to aging, just a little physical activity definitely helps.