Long-term Study: the Positive Effects of Sport Last for 10 Years


Training sessions that are many years ago can still have a positive impact on our health today, according to a new study. Endurance and metabolism in particular benefit from this – even if the subjects had not exercised for years.

It is not new that sport can make a positive long-term contribution to our health.

However, it is surprising how long the effect can last.

As part of a long-term study, sporting behavior and the health of people were examined over a decade.

The result: Even with today’s “sporty feeling”, the test subjects were able to draw on the training that was already ten years ago – according to the current results, published in “Frontiers in Physiology”.

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Significantly Improved Health Through Sport

From 1998 to 2003, a large-scale project called ‘Strride’ (study on the intervention of risk reduction measures through defined exercise) examined hundreds of overweight people between 40 and 60 years over several months. 

Subjects exercised three times a week for eight months according to a training schedule assigned to them , while the researchers tracked changes in endurance, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity and waist size.

In contrast to a control group that did not move, the four health aspects of the study participants improved considerably.

10 Years Later: Still in Better Health

After about ten years, the scientists at Duke University contacted the participants again: Over 100 representatives from the training and control group agreed to carry out another comparative study.

It turned out that the men and women from the non-training control group from ten years ago had a significantly larger waist size than the former training people – even if they were currently no longer engaged in any sport.

Their endurance values ​​were also still better than when the first measurement was taken from the workout program that had now taken place ten years ago. The same was true for high blood pressure, insulin sensitivity and metabolism.

“Apparently we can partially build up a physiological reserve,” says William Kraus, professor of medicine and cardiology at Duke University, who oversaw the current study.

It is therefore worthwhile to keep moving – both for short-term goals, but also to have a positive impact on our health in old age.

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