“The findings show that humans have a great potential to maintain a high level of physical work capacity and thereby better quality of life even at advanced ages,” says Per Tesch, professor of sports science.
A year ago Mid Sweden University and the Karolinska Institute launched a study of seniors who are still active skiers. The study attracted a great deal of attention in the media in connection with testing and experiments in Östersund. Some of Sweden’s skiing icons, now more than 90 years old, took part.
Now the results of the study are being presented. They show that the maximum capacity for oxygen uptake is twice as great among active senior men compared with men who do not exercise. The results for the active seniors are comparable to values for men who are 40-50 years younger but do not exercise to improve their stamina. Analyses of muscle samples at the molecular and cell level reveal a profile similar to what is found in younger men.
“The high values for maximum oxygen-uptake capacity that we have measured have never been reported before in a population of men of advanced age,” says Per Tesch.
The findings from the study will be presented at the American College of Sports Medicine: Integrative Physiology of Exercise in Miami Beach this week.
The study is part of a larger collaborative project co-directed by physiologist Per Tesch, professor of sports science at Mid Sweden University and Scott Trappe, professor of sports physiology at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA. The ultimate purpose of the project is to study how musculature, the circulatory apparatus, and performance are affected by lifelong exercising well into senior years.