Cardiovascular disease remains the number one cause of death. It is well known that being physically fit is associated with lower risk of disease.
One factor associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease is having a low maximal heart rate. Although maximal heart rate inevitably declines with age, there is still a lot of debate on whether fitness can slow this aging response.
‘The maximal heart rate among physically fit people was observed to decline at a slower rate with age compared to low fit participants.’
In this large scale study, 3,318 healthy men and women performed a maximal exercise test and some of these subjects (643 men and women) were tested repeatedly over many years.
The investigators compared the decline in maximal heart rate with age among high, moderate, and low fit groups. The results showed that higher fit participants' maximal heart rate declined at a slower rate with age compared to low fit participants.
This research provided compelling evidence that staying fit slows this aspect of the aging process.