Source: Chicago Tribune, January 6, 2002
In 1966, medical researchers at the University of Texas put 20-year-old male volunteers to bed for three weeks and measured the resulting decrease in their physical work capacity, (aerobic power). The men regained their normal function quickly once the study was completed. Then, over the next thirty years, the doctors tracked these men to measure the decline of aerobic capacity that occurred with normal aging in the absence of regular exercise. They found that the three weeks of bed rest (when the men were younger) had actually decreased aerobic capacity more than did the subsequent thirty years of aging.
To complete their research, the doctors then had the 50-year-old men undergo a six-month endurance-exercise program of walking, cycling, or jogging. At the end of the six months, the exercise program had reversed one hundred percent of the age-related decline in aerobic power. Earlier this month, one of the researchers, Dr. Benjamin D. Levine of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, offered good news: "The studies indicate that middle-age men can actually reverse many of the negative results of non-exercise, even after being physically inactive for a long time".
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