A study conducted in subjects aged 55 to 79 confirms the benefits of sports activity on maintaining a good immune function.
At various stages of life, the moderate exercise of a sport is accompanied, in the medium and long term, by an improvement of many immune functions. This finding is widely documented in the medical literature, mainly among young and healthy people, differing only in their level of the sport practiced.
But even after reaching 50 years of age, these benefits of sports remain important, as evidenced by a study conducted by a group of Birmingham researchers, published in early March in the journal Aging Cell.
The researchers compared the immune profiles of 125 adults aged 55 to 79 “who had maintained a high level of physical activity” to that of 75 healthy, but non-athletic adults of similar ages, as well as 55 young adults “not engaged in the practice of regular exercise”.
The study focused particularly on the activity of the thymus (which tends to atrophy with age) and on the quality of T lymphocytes. The results of the experiment show that on these points, the profile of the old people who practiced a sport “was not different from that of young adults”. On the other hand, specify the researchers, “physical activity does not protect against all the aspects of immuno-senescence”. For example, for a certain type of T lymphocytes, the CD8, the rate of aging cells, did not differ significantly between the two groups of participants over 55 years of age.
So get yourself a gym membership or simply pick up your old bike. In all likelihood, physical activity will be beneficial to maintain the health of your immune system: any reason is a good reason to escape the sedentary lifestyle!