Regular jogging may slow down the ageing process, latest evidence shows.
The American study looked at 30 healthy people, both men (15) and women (15), aged around 69 and found that running at an old age consumed the same amount of energy as walking at a young age.
The participants reported either jogging or walking for 30 minutes, thrice a week. Researchers found that running involved a lower metabolic cost than walking.
As part of the study, the participants were made to walk on a force –measuring treadmill at three different speeds (1.6, 2.8 and 3.9 mph). Researchers calculated the total consumption of oxygen and carbon dioxide during the workout. The results were compared with data from another study the same researchers had carried out on younger and older sedentary adults.
The results of the study showed that regular running decelerated the ageing process.
"It was surprising to find that older adults who regularly run for exercise are better walkers than older adults who regularly walk for exercise," co-author Owen Beck, said in a news release. "The take-home message of the study is that consistently running for exercise seems to slow down the aging process and allows older individuals to move more easily, improving their independence and quality of life."
Researchers assumed that the effect may be provided by mitochondria, the "powerhouses" or parts of the cells that are responsible for converting sugar and oxygen into energy required for proper functioning of the cells.
Regular workout has been known to increase the amount of mitochondria in cells.
They said that the chemical energy produced by mitochondria called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is crucial for muscle power. "Because we found no external biomechanical differences between the older walkers and runners, we suspect the higher efficiency of senior runners is coming from their muscle cells," Rodger Kram, associate professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in US, explained.
The study published in journal PLOS ONE backs a May 2012 research of 2,000 joggers that found that regular running improved life span by six years.
In another study of 500 runners, researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine in the US had provided solid evidence to show that regular running slowed ageing.