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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Health Update

Air Date: Week of

Living On Earth’s Diane Toomey reports that exercise can keep your blood vessels looking half their age.


TOOMEY: Scientists know exercise can slow down the aging process. And now they know by how much, at least as far as blood vessels go. Researchers in Italy divided a group of young people, one half of whom were couch potatoes. The rest were athletes. They did the same with another group of people in their 60s. They gave everyone acetylcholine, a substance that makes blood vessels dilate if they're working properly. By measuring blood flow, they found little difference between people in their 20s, whether they were sedentary or active. That wasn't true for people in their 60s. The blood vessels of elderly athletes behaved like they belonged to someone half their age, producing blood flow greater than the seniors who didn't exercise. All this flowing blood protects against fatty build-up and blood clots, which in turn helps prevent disease and can let you live longer. And that's this week's environmental health update. I'm Diane Toomey.



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