Health & FitHere's the Scientific Proof That It's Never Too Late to Start Exercising
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Everyone knows thatis one of the keys to living a longer life. But if you’re and you’ve never been a big fan of the gym, you might think it’s too late to start. Well, good news: According to a new study published in the (BMJ), becoming physically active in mid-life and beyond can add years to your life, regardless of your past activity (or lack thereof).
For their meta-analysis, researchers at the University of Cambridge, School of Clinical Medicine, looked at previous data on 14,599 men and women between the ages of 40 and 79. They assessed their physical activity levels at the beginning of the study, then three more times over the next seven years. They then compared this data to the mortality rates of the participants over the next 12 years.
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The results showed that meeting the minimum recommended exercise guidelines—at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week—was associated with a 46 percent decreased risk of premature death. And for those who had never exercised in the past, meeting these guidelines gradually over a period of five years was associated with a 29 percent lower risk of, an 11 percent lower risk of , and a 24 percent lower risk of mortality overall.
“Middle aged and older adults, including those with cardiovascular disease and cancer, can gain substantial longevity benefits by becoming more physically active, irrespective of past physical activity levels and established risk factors,” the study concludes.
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And if cardio isn’t your cup of tea, worry not: Research shows that you don’t necessarily have to do anything too strenuous to extend your life. One 2018 study published in theof men in their early 70s and late 80s found that —walking the dog, mowing the lawn, etc.—was nearly as beneficial to longevity as a sweaty session at the gym.
And another recent study of 89,000 women over 50 found thatreduces the risk of heart failure in post-menopausal women by a whopping 25 percent.
So, if you’re over 40, it’s hardly too late to get moving. In fact, doing so may just save your life. And if you need more inspiration to start getting active, check out.
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Why It's Never Too Late to Exercise
The Idea of Starting a New Exercise Program or a gym class can be daunting for everyone. However, researchers at the University of Birmingham, England, said in a study whose full results were published in Frontiers in Physiology, that it was never too late to be active. They found that seniors who never participated in intensive exercise programs had the same ability to develop muscle mass as highly skilled athletes of similar age.
In addition, research indicates that even people who are not used to exercising can benefit from resistance exercises such as bodybuilding.
"Our study clearly shows that regardless of whether you have not been a regular athlete throughout your life, you can still benefit from exercise every time you start," said Dr. Leigh Breen, lead author of this study.
"Clearly, a long-term commitment to good health and exercise is the best approach, but even starting later in life will help delay age-related fragility and muscle weakness." .
For this study, researchers compared the muscle building abilities of two older men's groups. One group consisted of men aged 70 and 80 who exercised throughout their lives and were always at the highest level in their sport, while the other group consisted of healthy people of the same age who had never participated in exercise programs.
Each participant received an isotopic tracer and then took part in a single exercise involving training on a weight machine. The researchers took muscle biopsies from participants over the 48-hour period just before and just after exercise, and examined them for signs of the muscles' response to exercise.
If they expected athletes to have an increased ability to develop their muscles because of their higher fitness level over a prolonged period, the researchers found that both groups had "equal ability" to develop muscles in response to exercise.
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