Donning a tracksuit could knock up to 15 years off the female ageing process, says new research from the University of Sydney.
A study of women aged 55 to 70 by Ross Hansen, lecturer in the department of life sciences in nursing, found moderate but regular exercise gave women a 12 to 15-year advantage in their body composition, especially skeletal muscle mass.
Mr Hansen interviewed 55 women about their exercise levels and measured their total body potassium, nitrogen, water, bone mineral density and fat distribution.
"We found a 70-year-old active woman could have the body equivalent to a 55-year-old sedentary woman in terms of muscle, bone and fat," he said.
He added: "You would not regard any of these women as master athletes. They did a modest amount of exercise regularly and were getting the benefits."