A study in more than 30,000 heart patients shows that becoming active later in life can be nearly as beneficial to living longer as continued activity.
Many adults aged 65 and over spend, on average, 10 hours or more each day sitting or lying down, making them the most sedentary age group. Studies show that “taking it easy” can do more harm than good. Often, inactivity is more to blame than age when older people lose their independence. Lack of physical activity can also lead to more visits to the doctor and more use of medicines for a variety of illnesses.
The researchers examined the increase from cardiovascular disease according to four groups from 33,576 patients with coronary heart disease. The average age was 62.5 years and 34% were women. Patients who were more active over time were 50% more likely to live a longer life. This also included those who were inactive, but then became active who were 45% more likely to live a longer life if they became active – so there is hope for everyone, as long as you get started now!
“These encouraging findings highlight how patients with coronary heart disease may benefit by preserving or adopting a physically active lifestyle,” said study author Dr. Nathalia Gonzalez of the University of Bern, Switzerland. “The results show that continuing an active lifestyle over the years is associated with the greatest longevity. However, patients with heart disease can overcome prior years of inactivity and obtain survival benefits by taking up exercise later in life. The findings illustrate the benefits to heart patients of being physically active, regardless of their previous habits.”
“The biggest benefits come to those who start from scratch,” says Dr Cavill, and NHS a health-promotion consultant. “It’s moving from a sedentary lifestyle to a moderately active one that makes the biggest difference to your health. The more you do, the greater the health benefits.”
Research has shown that exercise is not only good for your physical health, it also supports emotional and mental health. You can exercise with a friend and get the added benefit of emotional support. So, next time you’re feeling down, anxious, or stressed, try to get up and start moving!
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