How to age 20 years in three weeks

From an ABC News piece on exercise:

A two-part follow up study at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, tracked five healthy men over three decades in one of the most intensive fitness studies ever attempted.

It began in 1966, with five fit 20-year-old college students. The study, which sought to determine the adverse effects of bed rest on physical fitness, put its subjects to the ultimate test: three weeks of bedrest.

The men were confined to total and complete inactivity, ordered to use a wheelchair even for trips to the bathroom.

The effects were remarkable. Results showed that the men’s hearts had actually become smaller. Furthermore, the men’s muscles had shrunk causing a 25 percent reduction in strength and stamina.

Dr. Benjamin Levine from the Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas told World News Tonight correspondent John McKenzie that the results of the study were significant. “These 20-year-old men, after three weeks of bed rest now had the physical fitness of men that were 45 or 50 years old.”

Holy crap!

According to the study, the reverse is also true — out-of-shape middle-aged men leading sedentary lives were put on an exercise program and in six months had the same aerobic capacity as twemty-year olds.

Suddenly I want to hit the gym.

(Once again, the full story is here.)

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