Physiol. Res. 53: 171-176, 2004

The Effect of One Year´s Swimming Exercise on Oxidant Stress
and Antioxidant Capacity in Aged Rats


1Department of Physiology, 2Department of Neurology and 3Department of Public Health, Akdeniz University, Medical Faculty, Antalya, Turkey

Received September 3, 2002
Accepted April 3, 2003

The effect of exercise on oxidant stress and on alterations in antioxidant defense in elderly has been investigated extensively. However, the impact of regularly performed long-term physical activity starting from adulthood and prolonged up to the old age is not yet clear. We have investigated the changes in the activities of antioxidant enzymes – superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) – and lipid peroxidation in various tissues of rats which had performed (old-trained) or had not performed (old-control) regular swimming exercise for one year. These animals were compared with young-sedentary rats. Increased lipid peroxidation was observed with ageing in all tissues (heart, liver, kidney, striated muscle) and swimming had no additional effect on this elevation of lipid peroxidation. Heart and striated muscle SOD activites, and striated muscle CAT activity increased as a consequence of ageing, whereas kidney and liver CAT activities, as well as GPx activities in kidney, liver, lung and heart were significantly decreased compared to young controls. Lung and heart SOD, liver CAT activities as well as GPx activities in liver, lung and heart were increased significantly in rats which performed exercise during ageing, compared to the old-control group. These findings suggest that lifelong exercise can improve the antioxidant defense in many tissues without constituting any additional oxidant stress.

© 2004 by the Institute of Physiology, Czech Academy of Sciences