40 Isn’t Too Old to Start Endurance Training

Sit at a desk all day, watching your beer belly grow, and wondering what it might be like to wear a fitted suit? Well, stop sitting there and get busy.

According to a study presented at a congress devoted to cardiovascular health, the health benefits you gain by starting to exercise in your forties are similar to the ones gained if you start in your forties. The study examined forty men aged fifty-five to seventy. Some had begun to exercise regularly in their thirties, others in their forties, and the third group didn’t exercise at all. Both exercising groups had good and comparable resting heart rates, high oxygen intake, and larger left ventricles. Furthermore, doctors couldn’t see a difference between the group when they took endocardiography tests (heart scans). Non-exercising men, as you’d expect, did much worse on all these tests.

David Matelto, on of the researchers, said, “despite biological changes with age, the heart still seems—even at the age of 40—amenable to modification by endurance training. Starting at the age of 40 does not seem to impair the cardiac benefits. However, endurance training is also beneficial for bone density, for muscle mass, for oxidative stress. And these benefits are known to be greater if training was started early in life.”

So, in your thirties? Get trainin’. In your forties? Still get trainin’. You might not see all those muscle mass benefits, but your heart will thank you. And then again, you might see real gains, like this seventy-year-old bodybuilder.

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