Physiological profiles are described for 30 healthy young (20-31 years) and 30 healthy older (50-62 years) men. Half of the individuals in each group reported that during the previous five years they participated frequently in strenuous physical exercises; the other half reported sedentary lifestyles. A treadmill exercise test was used to determine maximal aerobic power (VO2 max). Heart rate and blood pressure were measured during rest, maximal exercise and recovery. The active older men demonstrated significantly lower resting heart rates, lower resting systolic and diastolic blood pressures, higher VO2 max, lower maximal exercise diastolic blood pressure and lower recovery heart rates than the age-matched sedentary men. Compared with the young sedentary men, the older active men had lower resting heart rates and higher VO2 max, walked longer on the treadmill, had lower recovery heart rates and weighed less. Older active men also had higher VO2 max levels than young sedentary men. In summary, physiological profiles of the older active men more closely resembled profiles of active men who were 30 years younger than those of older sedentary men. These results emphasize the range of benefits associated with exercise.
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