Are you one of those people who never got on board the exercise bandwagon and now think it’s too late to start? Or, do you think that because of the number of candles on the birthday cake, there is no way that you can experience the benefits of regular physical activity: lowered risk for a variety of conditions: heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, just to name a few?
Well, take heart. A recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine finds that regular physical activity later in life boosts healthy aging up to sevenfold. The finding show that benefits of exercise occur no matter when you start!
Much research has been done to demonstrate the connection between physical activity and good health for those taking up exercise in mid-life, but this is one of the first studies to establish that starting exercise relatively late in life also reaps health benefits.
Researchers tracked the health of roughly 3,500 people, average age 64, all born before 1952, who resided in England, and were “disease-free” at the start of the study. All participants were part of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.
Defining Health Aging as surviving without developing major chronic disease, depressive symptoms, physical or cognitive impairment, the authors assessed the participants’ health over an eight year period.
- Those who exercised at least once a week were three to four times more likely to age health fully than those who remained inactive.
- Those who started exercising during the study period were more than three times as likely as those who stayed on the couch to age healthfully.
- Those who kept up regular physical activity over the entire period (eight years) were seven times as likely to age healthfully as those who remained inactive.
So, hopefully this information will serve as an inspiration. The gift of health is something everyone deserves. Help boost your odds for a life full of satisfying experiences and free of disease: get moving and keep moving. Stay well.