A new study reveals how exercise boosts longevity

A new study reveals how exercise boosts longevity, regardless of previous activity levels.

A new study reveals how exercise boosts longevity

A new study shows getting active in middle and old age – regardless of how active you were before – can help you live longer.

The study, which followed around 15,000 older men and women for more than 20 years, found that longevity increased with increased activity levels, regardless of initial activity levels or other factors such as diet, cholesterol, obesity or blood pressure levels prior to testing.

The findings show it’s never too late to start boosting your longevity with exercise.

“It’s like putting money in the bank,” said study co-author Soren Brage of the University of Cambridge.

“You invest in your future health and nothing is ever wasted but it’s also never too late.”

Dr Brage said people who maintained a medium level of activity – the equivalent of the World Health Organisation (WHO) minimum physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week – had a 28 per cent lower risk of dying compared with those who had low activity levels at both time points.

“Twenty-eight per cent is what makes public health researchers jump up and down in joy — that’s quite a big effect,” said Dr Brage.

“That’s slashing your mortality risk by a quarter.”

And for those who increased their activity levels over time, there were even more benefits.

“Even if they were completely inactive when they started, if they manage to increase their activity level a little bit they could reap benefits,” he said.

And for those who think they are too hard-pressed for time to exercise, or for those who think they can wait until middle or old age to start exercising in order to reap these benefits, Dr Brage has a message.

“First of all you have to at least survive to old age. So you can’t just wait until you retire and then ... start doing some exercise. That’s generally a bad strategy,” he said.

Wendy Brown of the University of Queensland agrees that staying active through middle age and beyond has positive health benefits.

“Once you get to 70 you’re going to be going downhill, whatever you do. But if you start higher up the hill it’ll take you a lot longer to reach the bottom,” she said.

She also says that these findings should influence policymakers to do more to encourage fitness in middle aged and older people.

“We’ve got to focus on these middle-aged Australians because if we don’t, we’re to be a big burden – I’m one of them – on the health system in the next 10 years.”

How much exercise do you do each week? Are you meeting the WHO medium guidelines?

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    28th Jun 2019
    Where can I feast on Young Blood to stay young? Is there a membership to the Blood Bank where I can withdraw bags of blood or do I have to resort to the old methods and become a vampire?...
    28th Jun 2019
    This is news? ...just get rid of your remote control and that should give you 30 mins of exercise a day.

    28th Jun 2019
    As Billy Connelly put it:- "They tell you - eat this bread and it'll put two weeks on your life - but you don't get those two weeks when you're thirty-five and shagging like a stag... you get 'em when you're in a nursing home sleeping on a rubber blanket.."
    28th Jun 2019
    Lying in bed t'other night and I thought to meself:- "I might get a longboard and take up surfing again!"... then I thought, "Hang on, you're 70, and the old bones are not that good with shoulder problems and such, and you even have trouble swimming these days on account of those and your back"...

    Might take up sky-diving... can't out-run those sharks out there and they love the water up this way...

    Maybe a surf ski... hmmmmm
    28th Jun 2019
    Haha - exactly.
    28th Jun 2019
    I live opposite a retirement home and by golly longevity is a formidable prospect. I wouldn't have said that 10-20 years ago. They are all so much more frail.
    28th Jun 2019
    Yea, think I'll take a pass on the nursing homes...maybe strap myself to a Z1200 super bike and open her up. (joking only)
    28th Jun 2019
    I'm 72 and I still have a BMW K1200GT, hot enough for me.
    29th Jun 2019
    I'm only 65 and sold my car/bike years ago, I walk and mountain bike everywhere now, feeling great.
    29th Jun 2019
    @gilstamp, you have one nice motor bike, I rode for many years, even around Australia on a K2 750 Honda 4, great times.
    28th Jun 2019
    Go and do a Parkrun in your area if you want to enjoy yourself, meet new friends, have a coffee afterwards and best of all get fit. You can run, jog or walk the 5k every Saturday morning and it's completely free. It's timed, so if you want to work on improving your PB, then it's the way to go. I thought I had retired from running several years ago, but I'm enjoying it more than ever now. When you're oldish, I'm 70, there's no pressure on you to do a world beating time, you just jog along ( or walk ) at a pace which suits you.
    28th Jun 2019
    Thoroughly agree.
    People who poo-poo exercise are just trying to assuage their own consciences.
    29th Jun 2019
    @Aggle, apart from the physical benefits you touched on, another very good point you made is meeting like minded people, the social aspect is also good for health.

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