This age of biotechnology is also an age of comparative indolence and comfort. As the research community measures specific biochemical aspects of aging, such as the decline of the cardiovascular system, or metrics relating to immunosenescence in the immune system, we might question the degree to which the results are peculiar to our era. How much of aging is the result of our choices – to eat more and exercise less than our ancestors – rather than the result of inexorable processes of biochemical damage that we, as yet, have little influence over? (Conversely, how much of past aging was due to infectious disease, malnutrition, and other adverse external circumstances that are controlled to a much greater degree today?) This topic crops up fairly often in research into the effects of exercise on health, and the research noted here is a particularly striking example of the type.
The study authors find that the age-related decline of new T cells maturing in the thymus is negligible in some people, those who exercise much more than the rest of us. This diminished supply of new T cells is thought to be an important component of immune system aging,
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