In a new study from Texas and Japan, researchers found middle-aged endurance athletes have better control of blood pressure and higher arterial elasticity (a noninvasive measure of heart risk) than sedentary adults.
They also displayed similar levels of these factors compared to young adults, thanks to regular aerobic exercise.
The findings offer strong indications that improvements in blood pressure control and vascular elasticity may contribute to better cerebral blood flow regulation in middle-aged people.
Midlife arterial stiffness is linked to a higher risk of stroke and dementia later in life, along with a greater risk of age-related chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease and diabetes.
In the study, the team examined how regular aerobic exercise during midlife could improve age-related deteriorations of cerebral blood flow regulation, short-term blood pressure control and arterial elasticity.
They tested 20 middle-aged athletes (ages 45 to 64) with at least 10 years of aerobic training and in 20 adults younger than 45 and 20 middle-aged sedentary adults.
Researchers defined regular aerobic exercise in this study as running, cycling, swimming or multimodal training with moderate-to-vigorous intensity.
The long-term benefits of this study potentially mean significant improvements to human health.
The team says the findings have an important clinical implication. Regular aerobic exercise during midlife may prevent these age-related chronic diseases and extend a healthy lifespan.
For more information about wellness, please see recent studies about this walking exercise that could keep older people fit and health, and results showing that this small exercise may help you reduce high blood pressure.
The study is published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. One author of the study is Takashi Tarumi, Ph.D. from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan.
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