Never Too Late: Research Now Finds that Increasing Exercise at Any Time Can Increase Lifespan: Join the Livingto100.Club
The notion that it’s never too late to shift toward healthier behaviors gets another boost with research findings from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Smoking cessation, dietary modifications, a change in outlook, and other strategies can prove to be beneficial on our mental and physical well-being, promote successful aging, and increase longevity, regardless of how late in life these changes are adopted. Now, a study in the British Medical Journal is showing that it is never too late to reap the benefits of a longer life just by adding exercise to our daily routine, or increasing the intensity of our usual routine. Strikingly, the benefits included reduced mortality risk from cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The study followed over 14,000 men and women, aged 40 to 79, for anywhere from 7 to 12.5 years, monitoring lifestyle and risk factors (education level, employment status, diet, alcohol, smoking, BP), as well as changes in medical history. The researchers looked at physical activity and sedentary habits. Throughout the follow-up period, approximately 2,000 participants died from cardiovascular disease and cancer. After controlling for pre-existing activity levels, the authors concluded that over time, high levels of physical activity correlated with a lower mortality risk. More striking, though, was the finding that modest increases in exercise correlated with a 29% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and an 11% lower risk of dying from cancer. The authors inferred that participants who went from being physically inactive to becoming more active over a 5-year period were less likely to die from any cause than people who were consistently inactive.
One final conclusion applied to those who already were involved in high levels of activity: those who had high levels of physical activity at the start of the study were 42% less likely to die prematurely from any cause.
The benefits of increasing physical activity do not depend on past activity levels. This is the encouraging result. As the authors state, older adults “can still gain substantial longevity benefits by becoming more active, lending further support to the broad public health benefits of physical activity.” It also affirms the belief that we should never give up or stop moving forward. Apparently taking on new behaviors at any age still pays off.
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This Week's Recommendations
Exerpeutic Folding Upright Exercise Bike – Editor’s Choice: small enough to fit in a studio apartment while also being strong and sturdy.
Amazon Basics Neoprene Dumbbell Pairs and Sets with Stands – Ideal for resistance training, and made for indoor and outdoor use.
Learning Dumbbell Workout Exercise Poster – Double-sided for vertical or horizontal use, tear-resistant.
Younger Next year: The Exercise Program – A Guide to show the right way to exercise, how to start an exercise regimen, and the know-how to keep it going.
AmazonBasics ½-inch Extra Thick Exercise Mat – Extra thick mat for workout routines, textured surface, and lightweight (74x24”)
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