You’re never too old to start exercising. An increase in your physical activity level can have a major impact on the rest of your life, even if you are well into your personal “Middle Ages.” People starting an exercise program in their 40’s and 50’s can make a significant impact in their overall health in their late 70’s and early 80’s, pushing away disease and discomfort.
You might say that this is all good in theory, but show me the hard facts. Here are a few statistics to digest for a moment:
- A longitudinal study—conducted by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Cooper Institute in Dallas—compared the chronic health of nearly 19,000 people between the ages of 30 and 50. Researchers found that when there was a 20% increase in a middle aged person’s fitness level, there was a corresponding 20% decrease in their risk of developing eight major chronic illnesses studied when they reached their 70s and 80s. These diseases included heart failure, Alzheimer’s, color cancer and diabetes
- This same study discovered that these chronic diseases were delayed for up to twenty years, allowing people to enjoy those extra years in nearly full health.
- Those that were able to delay chronic illness didn’t suffer with it for very long either, living with them for only about five years on average.
Here are a couple tips to help you maximize these benefits for yourself:
- Exercise for at least 150 minutes weekly. Broken down, that’s five easy workouts of just thirty minutes a day. Going for a walk every morning can count for a good portion of this. Aside from helping you wake up, it can help you better prepare for the future of your health.
- Participate in muscle strengthening exercises. Doing so will maintain strength throughout your adult life.