A former factory worker in his 90s who only began exercising after retirement rows 18.5 miles a week and shows the heart health of someone less than half his age.
Researchers at the University of Limerick in Ireland conducted a case study of 93-year-old Richard Morgan, an exceptionally fit individual for his age. Published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Jakeman and colleagues discovered a stunning peak pulse rate of 153 beats per minute. This surpasses the anticipated maximum 127 beats per minute heart rate for his age group, placing him in an elite group of nonagenarians with exceptionally strong hearts.
Wondering how Morgan maintains such optimal heart health into his 90s, one may ask what is included in his exercise routine. Along those lines, Morgan does rowing exercises for about 40 minutes a day and averages 18.5 miles of rowing a week. Morgan also trains with weights and mixes low-intensity and high-intensity workouts to improve his strength. In addition to this mix of moderate and vigorous exercising, Morgan eats a diet high in protein, which is critical to building muscle and keeping one’s metabolism in optimal condition.
Mr. Morgan’s case begs the question of whether staying physically active and in shape can save your life as you grow older. Evidence suggests that this may be the case. In fact, a 2004 study found that people 65 and older who participated in physical activity had a 28% reduced risk of dying from any cause than those who did not exercise. Additionally, a 2022 study also found that adults who participated in between 75 and 149 minutes of exercise a week had a 19% lower risk of dying from any cause. In that same study, those who exercised at a moderate pace for 150 to 299 minutes a week had a 21% to 23% lower risk of dying from any cause.
It is unusual to see someone in their 90s in such pristine physical shape. Mr. Morgan did not start exercising routinely until he retired about 20 years ago while in his 70s. This goes to show that it is likely never too late to start training to maintain one’s heart health and physical fitness.