When people offer the colloquialism “It will make you feel young again,” they are often describing the short-term spike in energy following a particular activity. Whether it’s the euphoria of riding a rollercoaster or the caffeine boost from a double-shot of espresso, the feeling usually dissipates, making the saying somewhat ironic. One of the distinct marks of youth is constant energy that returns not long after it fades.

Although Father Time remains undefeated, there is more good news for current members of Generation Active. The lifestyle trends of consistent exercise bode well for heart health and the sustained bouts of energy that diminish in old age, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

The researchers at Ball State University who conducted the study analyzed the health of the heart, lungs, and muscles among a group of individuals in their 70’s and found that their state was comparable to those of people in their 40’s.

Author Maria Cohut summarized and elaborated on the report’s findings in a recent article for Medical News Today, writing:

The researchers worked with three types of participants: seven women and 21 men in their 70s who exercised regularly, 10 women and 10 men in their 70s who led sedentary lifestyles, and 10 women and 10 men in their 20s, who were all healthy and who exercised regularly.

Participants in the first category reported having exercised throughout their lives, and they described enjoying frequent physical activity on a leisurely basis. Each of these participants worked out, on average, 5 days per week for a combined total of about 7 hours.

 At one stage, the investigators sought to determine the participants’ aerobic endurance by evaluating their VO2 max measurements. This assesses the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can use during bouts of intense aerobic exercise. The researchers did so by asking the participants to cycle on indoor bikes.

The marker is important because, as the team explains, VO2 max tends to decline by approximately 10 percent every 10 years after a person reaches the age of 30, and this reduction corresponds to an increased risk of disease.

For those seeking to live an active lifestyle, either young or old, the benefits of doing so are well-documented and all but guaranteed to improve an individual’s overall health, both in the short-term and long-term.

To read Cohut’s full writeup, click here.