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Organ Systems Physiological Changes: Cardiovascular

Effects Of Regular Exercise

Regular aerobic exercise impacts cardiovascular function directly by improving the reserve capacity of the heart. The exercise capacity of both inactive persons and highly trained athletes declines with age at a similar rate (see Figure 5). While regular exercise does not prevent aging, individuals at any age can improve their cardiovascular fitness to the same extent by engaging in a program of regular aerobic exercise. For example, a highly trained and fit seventy-five year-old may achieve a maximal oxygen consumption (VO 2max) similar to that of a thirty-five year-old inactive individual. Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases in industrialized countries—it has been estimated that 250,000 Americans die prematurely from improper diet and lack of exercise each year. Thus, older individuals may benefit from regular aerobic exercise as much as, or even more than, younger persons.

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Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 3Organ Systems Physiological Changes: Cardiovascular - Heart Structure And Function At Rest, Reserve Capacity Of The Heart, Vascular Structure And Function At Rest