Posted on Dec 25, 2013, 6 a.m.
Regular physical activity commencing in later life can still slow mental and physical declines.
Numerous previous studies report that regular physical activity is associated with improved overall health, and mid-life exercise is a key anti-aging component. Mark Hamer. From the University College London (United Kingdom), and colleagues assessed data collected on 3454 healthy senior men and women, enrolled in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Subjects reported how much they exercise the start of the study, with researchers following them via regular health surveys for the next eight years. At follow-up, 90% of the subjects were considered to be healthy agers gas they did not develop any major chronic diseases have not experienced deterioration of their physical or mental status during the study period. The men and women who are active at least once a week at the study's start and remained active were the most likely to age healthily. Additionally, those who started exercising during the study period enjoy health benefits as well: they were three-times more likely than inactive adults to age well. Overall, men and women who remain active during the full eight years of the study were over seven times more likely to be aging well. Observing that: "Sustained physical activity in older age is associated with improved overall health,” the study authors conclude that: "Significant health benefits were even seen among participants who became physically active relatively late in life."
Hamer M, Lavoie KL, Bacon SL. “Taking up physical activity in later life and healthy ageing: the English longitudinal study of ageing.” Br J Sports Med. 2013 Nov 25.