Link between secondary school sport and geriatric fitness discovered
Article date: 30 December 2013
A new study has found a connection between men over the age of 70 who do not need to pay regular trips to the doctors' and those who used to play sports in secondary school.
Entitled Fit in 50 Years, it looked at the different factors affecting the health of male individuals in their later years by investigating World War II veterans who had aced their military health checks around half a century ago.
Leading the research, Dr Brian Wansink from Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab and Dr Simone Dohle from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich found that those men who had played sport in school during the 1930s and 1940s reported needing to see their doctor fewer times a year than those who hadn't.
Whether or not an individual had played sport or not also proved to be a good indicator of the likelihood they would be keeping active some 50 years later.
Promoting physical activity and exercise among the youth of today is proving to be extremely important, with some even urging for measures to be enshrined in law. This is because a global obesity epidemic is putting public health services the world over under an increasing amount of strain and causing many potentially preventable deaths.
This study serves to further highlight how doing exercise when we are young can have benefits later in life - even as many as 50 years down the line. It can be added to the body of evidence suggesting that more needs to be done to get youngsters off the couch, away from screens and into a pair of trainers.
It follows research published in Cell Metabolism earlier in the year that claimed exercise could even be good for the brain.
Rather, scientists found that a molecule called irisin produced in the brain during endurance exercise could have neuroprotective effects.
The research could be used in the future to develop drugs to treat neurodegenerative diseases and even improve cognitive function in the elderly.