George KaoWhat made the study so unique, beyond the sheer number of people studied was that researchers weren't relying on patients self-reporting their exerciseSee more. "This is not the patients telling us what they do. This is us testing them and figuring out objectively the real measure of what they do."
"We've never seen something as pronounced as this and as objective as this."
The benefits of exercise were seen across all ages and in both men and women, "probably a little more pronounced in females."
"Whether you're in your 40s or your 80s, you will benefit in the same way."
"We all know that a sedentary lifestyle or being unfit has some risk. But I'm surprised they overwhelm even the risk factors as strong as smoking, diabetes or even end-stage disease."
"[Being unfit] should be treated almost as a disease that has a prescription, which is called exercise."
For patients, especially those who live a sedentary lifestyle, "You should demand a prescription from your doctor for exercise."
The other big revelation from the research is that fitness leads to longer life, with no limit to the benefit of aerobic exercise. Researchers have always been concerned that "ultra" exercisers might be at a higher risk of death, but the study found that not to be the case.
So get moving.
Stowe Boyd> brief interval training three times a week on stationary bicycles (pedaling hard for four minutes, resting for three and then repeating that sequenceSee more three more times)<<<
> Among the younger subjects who went through interval training, the activity levels had changed in 274 genes, compared with 170 genes for those who exercised more moderately and 74 for the weight lifters. Among the older cohort, almost 400 genes were working differently now, compared with 33 for the weight lifters and only 19 for the moderate exercisers.
> Many of these affected genes, especially in the cells of the interval trainers, are believed to influence the ability of mitochondria to produce energy for muscle cells; the subjects who did the interval workouts showed increases in the number and health of their mitochondria — an impact that was particularly pronounced among the older cyclists.
> It seems as if the decline in the cellular health of muscles associated with aging was “corrected” with exercise, especially if it was intense, says Dr. Sreekumaran Nair, a professor of medicine and an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic and the study’s senior author. In fact, older people’s cells responded in some ways more robustly to intense exercise than the cells of the young did — suggesting, he says, that it is never too late to benefit from exercise.