Exercise Can Lengthen Life, and It’s Never Too Late to Begin

Jun 14, 2009 by

Exercise Can Lengthen Life, and It’s Never Too Late to Begin

Exercise and physical activity boost health and increase longevity. For many of us, though, in particular those who have reached a certain age, there might be a bit of the “too little, too late” mentality.

Well, there needn’t be, because a recent study has found that beginning a good exercise program in one’s latter years can raise one’s level of longevity to that of counterparts who had been exercising all along. Read more in the article below.

Physical Activity Improves Longevity: It is Never Too Late to Start

by Reuben Chow

A Swedish study recently published in the British Medical Journal has given those who have reached or passed middle age hope and encouragement to begin a new healthy lifestyle, having discovered that starting a solid exercise regime after the age of 50 can raise one’s level of longevity to that of those who have been exercising regularly all along.

With the onset of middle and then old age, health, wellbeing and vitality deteriorate as the bodily engine begins to wear out; to some extent, this is an unavoidable process, part of the natural cycle of mortal existence. Yet, the truth is, due to degenerate lifestyle and dietary habits, our bodies are failing much faster than they should be. And, unfortunately, most people embrace age-correlated health decline too readily and easily, without realizing that there is a lot more we can do to slow and even reverse the trend. The truth is, we can reverse the damage done earlier, and raise our level of health to that of those who have been living healthily throughout the years.

Details of Study

The said exercise was a population-based cohort study carried out in the Swedish municipality of Uppsala. It had looked at 2,205 men, first surveying them from 1970 to 1973 when the men were 50 years old. The study subjects were categorized into four groups based on their level of physical activity – sedentary, low, medium or high, and they were followed up on at the ages of 60, 70, 77 and 82. The basic aim of the study was to find out how post-middle age changes in levels of physical activity affect mortality rates.

Findings of Study

Not surprisingly at all, the study team found that more physical activity translated to lower mortality rates – for those in the low, medium and high level groups, the absolute mortality rates were 27.1, 23.6 and 18.4 per 1,000 person years respectively.

What was more significant was the researchers’ discovery that those who raised their levels of physical activity while they were aged between 50 and 60 experienced improved mortality rates, reaching the rates of men who had all along carried out high levels of physical activity. This is certainly excellent news for late-starters.

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