60-year-olds are often fitter than young people

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One study showed that young adults are less fit than schoolchildren or people between 50 and 60 years of age. The reasons are lack of exercise, obesity and smoking.

The fitness of young people in Germany is obviously bad. At least that's what a study by the German Sports University in Cologne says. Most young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 are less susceptible to health problems than students or people between the ages of 50 and 60. The main reasons for this are, according to researchers, lack of exercise, unhealthy eating and cigarette consumption.

The majority of young adults in Germany are weaker than people between 50 and 60 years of age. This is the result of an unhealthy lifestyle characterized by overweight, smoking and lack of exercise. According to the expert and study author Alexander Sievert, "the 50- to 60-year-olds are fitter than the young men and women".

For the research work, the results of which were also published in the Deutsches Ärzteblatt, the scientists of the "Research Group Performance Epidemiology" collected the data from 8,000 women and men between 10 and 25 years of age. It was found that only around 28 percent of men and around 35 percent of women showed no risk factors for diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, for example. "Even the presence of only one of the examined risk factors is associated with significant performance losses, which increase with each additional risk characteristic," the authors write in their message. The results show that an unhealthy lifestyle "already leads to a considerable loss of performance after a short exposure time". Because about 50 percent "of the 24- to 25-year-olds did not reach the performance level of the 14- to 15-year-olds during the study."

Young adults could not keep up with students In many cases, the participants could no longer keep up with the students in a 1000-meter run, although the peak of physical performance was normally between the ages of 25 and 35. "The performance and health of the young generation not only have an individual impact on their personal future but also far-reaching consequences for society as a whole". Because “physical performance is also closely related to how often you get sick and how well you work,” explains Sievert.

Those who are physically fit also work more efficiently at work. The young people are just at the beginning of their professional careers and are already clearly limited in their fitness. An unhealthy lifestyle "can lead to considerable performance losses early and before chronic diseases occur."

Therefore, Prof. Dr. Dieter Leyk and colleagues before the far-reaching consequences for society as a whole. The unhealthy lifestyle and the associated decreasing resilience and performance of young people could lead to restricted work performance. In many cases, this also results in reduced employability and increased sick leave. "It is therefore all the more important to use young adulthood as a preventive window in order to avoid the manifestation of chronic illnesses and thus also negative social and economic consequences," the authors write.

Movement is a higher factor than the natural aging process
In a previous study, the researchers at the Cologne University of Sport had used their results to show that lifestyle had a higher health factor than biological age. So if you move little, eat an unhealthy diet and smoke on top of that, you will already see significant performance losses in middle age. In the course of a long-term study, the scientists evaluated the mileage of around 500,000 long-distance runners between the ages of 20 and 80. It was found that about 25 percent of the 60 to 70 year olds ran faster than 50 percent of the 20 to 50 year olds. Despite their age, the older subjects were in better shape than the young people.

Exercise improves blood flow to the brain
A Canadian study showed that regular sports training not only makes you physically fit, but also stimulates the brain cells extraordinarily. The recently published study showed that the mental fitness of previously untrained people can be restored relatively easily if they underwent intensive interval training at least twice per workout. Already after 16 weeks it became apparent that the condition of the overweight participants increased massively. In the tests, the subjects performed significantly better in their cognitive performance than at the beginning of the training. "Sport apparently improves the blood supply to the brain," the scientists summed up at the end of the research.

Adults in the middle of their lives in particular can use regular sports to ensure that the age-related decline in cognitive performance is slowed down or even stopped. In addition to a healthy diet, sport can also ensure that circulatory disorders in the brain are prevented, as occurs, for example, in cardiovascular diseases. According to the sports doctors, 150 minutes of active movement are optimal. But if you only train for ten minutes a day, you can still significantly improve your health and quality of life and, on top of that, reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack and diabetes. (sb)

Also read:
Strengthen the heart through cardio training
Why does sport help with diabetes?
Sports myths: Sports can also be unhealthy

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