Regaining Lost Fitness

Whatever your age, fitness level, or body shape, you can improve your quality of life by making positive changes in your lifestyle that promote health and reduce the risk of disease.

In a study published in the journal Circulation, the effects of a 30-year lapse in health practices were reversed with six months of exercise training.  The study began with five healthy 20-year-old men in 1966. The original study was designed to examine the effects of three weeks of bed rest on aerobic capacity. 

A follow-up study was done 30 years later.  Time had taken its toll on these men.  Their weight had increased by 25%, their body fat had doubled and their aerobic capacity had decreased by 11%.  They were put on an aerobic exercise program where they exercised for one hour four or five times a week. After six months, they had regained the fitness lost during the previous 30 years. They achieved the same degree of cardiovascular fitness they had as 20-year-old's.  (Circulation, 2001, Vol. 104. pp. 1350-1357)

The take-home message is this:  even if you have lived a less than healthy lifestyle up until now, you can change. Your future is up to you. By eating nutritiously and incorporating a good exercise program, you can improve the quality of your life and reclaim your future.