You Can Recover From Past InactivityRead on, because the study reviewed here shows that you can make meaningful improvements in life expectancy even past age 50. This is fantastic news. It is never to late to start living health and getting out and exercising.
Men: Add Up To 2.5 Years in Your 50s with ExerciseMen in their 50s who increase their exercise level can add 2.5 years to their lives. Considering that the life expectancy of a 55 year old is around 30 more years. Adding up to an additional 2.5 years to that is an 8% increase in life expectancy. That’s really good. When you add to that the fact that exercise will also make those remaining 30-32.5 years healthier.
The Study: Older Men, Exercise and LongevityOver 2,200 men who were 50 years old in 1970-1973 enrolled in a study. These men were examined at age 50 and again at ages 60, 70, 77 and 82. As part of the examine, they answered questions about their activity levels. Based on those answers, the men were (for analysis) grouped into three categories: low activity, medium activity and high activity. Low activity men spent most of their doing activities like watching TV or reading. Medium activity men often went walking or biked for pleasure. High activity men engaged in sports, formal exercise or heavy gardening at least three hours a week.
No Duh: People Who Exercise Live LongerOf course, the high activity group did better. They lived 1.1 years longer than the medium activity group and 2.3 years longer than the low activity group. That’s a big “no duh!” What is interesting is that men who increased their activity level from low or medium to high also reaped the full benefits of being in the high exercise group.
You Can Escape Your Coach Potato PastBottom line, even if you were a couch potato until age 50, you can escape the fate of a lower life expectancy due to inactivity simply by becoming more active. You can’t use the excuse that it is “too late” to exercise or that “your fate is set” because of past behaviors. Get out and exercise! You may even learn to love it.
Total mortality after changes in leisure time physical activity in 50 year old men: 35 year follow-up of population based cohort Liisa Byberg, Håkan Melhus, Rolf Gedeborg, Johan Sundström, Anders Ahlbom, Björn Zethelius, Lars G Berglund, Alicja Wolk, Karl Michaëlsson BMJ 2009;338:b688, doi: 10.1136/bmj.b688 (Published 5 March 2009)