"This is the first time we've been able to document this kind of enhancement associated with exercise," said Charles Emery, a professor of psychology and the lead author of the Ohio State University study.
The faster that a wound heals, the less chance it will become infected.
The results appear in a recent issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.
The study included 28 healthy older adults ranging in age from 55 to 77 (average age was 61). The participants hadn't exercised regularly for at least six months prior to the study. For the research, about half (13) of them exercised three times a week for three months. The other 15 participants served as controls and were asked not to change their physical activity habits during the study period.
Each subject received a small puncture wound on the back of the upper arm. Adults in the exercise group started working out about a month before the wound procedure; this gave their bodies enough time to adapt to a regular exercise program.
The wounds were about 1/8-inch across and deep. The researchers photographed the wounds three times a week until the wounds were no longer visible (about six to seven weeks).
The exercise sessions began with 10 minutes of warm-up floor exercises and stretching followed by 30 minutes of pedaling on a stationary bike. After that, participants either jogged or walked briskly on a treadmill for 15 minutes, followed by about 15 minutes of strength training. All sessions ended with five minutes of cool-down exercises.
Each participant completed assessments of exercise endurance and stress at the beginning and end of the study. The exercise endurance test, completed on a treadmill, measured each subject's aerobic fitness
Contact: Charles Emery
Ohio State University