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Exercise Does Not Make Heart Grow Younger

Research shows that exercise:

- does not reverse ageing
- may make old hearts less stable
- could actually increase chances of arrhythmia (change in heartbeat)
- does bring protection against heart attacks, but this protection is gained and lost rapidly.

Contrary to popular belief, exercise may not always be good for the elderly, according to research presented at Life Sciences 2007 - the first joint meeting of The Biochemical Society, The British Pharmacological Society and The Physiological Society.

The study showed how exercise does not reverse the effects of ageing on the heart (as previously thought), and in some cases, could actually increase the risk of heart arrhythmias in the elderly. Arrhythmias, or irregular heart beats, may lead to sudden death, or the need to have a pacemaker fitted.

Dr. Matthew Lancaster, from the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds, explains: "a general misconception is that regular exercise helps you to stay young, but this is an over-simplification. Regular exercise can protect against many risk factors associated with heart disease, but exercise does not make an old heart young again."

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