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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2011 Nov;111(5):1497-504. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00420.2011. Epub 2011 Aug 11.

Lifetime sedentary living accelerates some aspects of secondary aging.

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Dept. of Biomedical Sciences, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia MO 65203, USA.


Lifetime physical inactivity interacts with secondary aging (i.e., aging caused by diseases and environmental factors) in three patterns of response. First, lifetime physical inactivity confers no apparent effects on a given set of physiological functions. Second, lifetime physical inactivity accelerates secondary aging (e.g., speeding the reduction in bone mineral density, maximal oxygen consumption, and skeletal muscle strength and power), but does not alter the primary aging of these systems. Third, a lifetime of physical activity to the age of ∼60-70 yr old totally prevents decrements in some age-associated risk factors for major chronic diseases, such as endothelial dysfunction and insulin resistance. The present review provides ample and compelling evidence that physical inactivity has a large impact in shortening average life expectancy. In summary, physical inactivity plays a major role in the secondary aging of many essential physiological functions, and this aging can be prevented through a lifetime of physical activity.

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