In the News: It's Never Too Late To Start Exercising
When it comes to exercise, we’re all familiar with the saying "It’s never too late to start". Now
new research is validating that claim, and demonstrating the effects of consistent aerobic exercise in middle age and late in life. A new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine tracked two groups of people- regular runners and those that never exercised- for more than 20 years. The results showed that regular jogging reduced people's risk of disabilities and help them live longer and healthier.
All participants were 50 or older when the study began. Over the years, compared with the never-exercisers, people who exercised regularly (including other aerobic exercises like biking and swimming) showed improved aerobic capacity, better cardiovascular fitness, increased bone mass fewer inflammatory markers, less physical disability, and even improved thinking, learning and memory. They also lived significantly longer. And for runners, the study found no significant difference between the conditions of their joints versus those of their sedentary peers.
As the participants aged into their 70’s and 80’s, the activity level of the exercisers slowed down. But surprisingly, their health benefits continued, meaning that the gap between the exercisers and non-exercisers did not shrink. So even though you might not be able to do the same activities you did 20 years ago, that doesn’t mean you’re not still reaping the health benefits of all of that hard work. Now there’s something to look forward to!
Although this study focused on runners, any high intensity aerobic exercise can produce the same benefits. And if you’re not able to exercise intensely, studies show that you can still benefit (both physically and mentally) from moderate exercise later in life.
SparkPeople’s Senior Health Lifestyle Center has lots of information about being healthy later in life. I encourage you to check it out!
Are you someone who’s been active throughout your life? If not, what made you decide to start when you did? If you’re over 50 like the participants in this study, do you notice a mental and/or physical difference compared with others you know who don’t exercise?
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