Midlife Exercise Leads To Better Health In Later Years

According to research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, among women who survived to age 70 or older, those who had higher levels of physical activity at the beginning of the study were less likely to have chronic diseases, heart surgery or any physical, cognitive or mental impairments.

The researchers analyzed data from more than 13,500 participants.  Participanting women reported their physical activity levels in 1986, starting at an average age of 60.

“The American population is aging and nearly a quarter of Americans do not engage in any leisure-time activity,” explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.  “It’s very likely today that women will live into their 80s, 90s and even past 100 but without proper planning, their quality of life will be poor.”

The research findings appear to support federal guidelines regarding physical activity to promote health among older people and further emphasize the potential of activity to enhance overall health and well-being with aging.   ”The notion that physical activity can promote successful survival rather than simply extend the lifespan may provide particularly strong motivation for initiating activity,” one of the researchers concludes.

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