Exercise is an important element when it comes to improving any area of your life. It helps you sleep a night, it helps your mood during the day, and it helps you feel better physically. Now new studies show that exercise is also an important factor in aging.
In fact, becoming physically active in middle age, even if one has previously led a sedentary lifestyle, dramatically reduces the likelihood that you will become seriously ill or physically disabled in retirement. One study showed that those who started exercising at age 50 reduced their risk of dying for the next 35 years,
compared to those who remained inactive. This can be accomplished in as little as 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
When it comes to aging, exercise accomplishes two things:
- It helps you age better.
- It helps you live longer.
Aging Well & Living Longer
What does it mean to age well? As populations in the United States and Europe grow older, scientists and doctors are studying ways that we can live longer and better lives. They call these studies “successful aging” studies.
Successful aging means more than staying alive. It means engendering a lifestyle that leads to minimal disability after age 65 or so, which includes little to no serious cognitive decline or physical infirmities that would prevent someone from living independently.
Even little amounts of exercise help. Those who did less than the recommended amount still lowered their risk by 20%. People who didn’t exercise at all were at the highest risk of death.
Those who worked out 150 minutes a week lowered their risk by about 31 percent. This works out to be 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Experts recommend that those who are physically able aim to achieve this as a minimum goal.
The exercise sweet spot to help reduce health risks by 39 percent seems to be getting about 450 minutes of exercise per week. Note that this is moderate exercise, like walking, and that it works out to about an hour a day.