If you are older, working out is great for you to be healthy and strong but can working out in old age make you live longer?
No matter how old you are, there is evidence that not only does exercise improve your life overall, but that it can make you live longer. There are three types of exercise that older people can benefit the most from:
If you want to live longer and with few ailments, then start now because it is never too late! The evidence is in, exercise can help anyone live longer and healthier and it actually becomes more important the older you are. So if you are not exercising, now is the time to begin.
Exercise in Middle and Old Age Boost Longevity
Did you know that only one out of every four adults between the ages of 65 and 74 exercise on a regular basis? It is easy to just be sedentary for some people as they get older. I hope you won’t be one of these people. It is hard to take the first step but just make up your mind and do it. You will be so happy you did!
There was a study that followed 15,000 older adults and the outcome showed that:
- People whose activity level increased live longer, even if they never exercised before and even if they had health problems like diet, obesity or blood pressure.
- These 15,000 people were followed for 20 years
- Experts said the results were very important
It is impressive and important to me to be active as I age so I was excited to see this!
However, I want to be healthy if I live longer too. Exercising is beneficial to health too.
Exercise as you age and live better and longer
It is never too late to start to exercise. If you do, you can stop the clock and have a better quality of health. You will be stronger, look better, have better health and feel good. You will be able to do everything and go everywhere you want to go.
You may not realize all we lose as we age:
- Strength – Beginning at about 30 years of age, our strength begins to decline. The quality of our tissues and muscles decline and we get weaker and weaker with each passing year.
- Muscle – We start to lose muscle mass at a rate of 1 percent each year pass 30 years of age. If we don’t have enough muscle for the things we like to do. This can be alleviated with exercise.
- Cardio Endurance – by not exercising we lose the endurance we need to move around a lot quickly and effectively. We no longer have aerobic fitness contributing to a lesser quality of life because we lack the fitness to move around good for daily life.
- Flexibility – Loss of mobility goes hand in hand with a sedentary life. Our joints stiffen and are easily damaged. We lose range of motion leading to injuries.
- Balance – Balance is impaired as we age unless we work at it. Older adults are at risk for broken hips and falls that threaten our lives. I have seen too many older adults in the hospital for broken hips and other broken bones from falls not to mention head injuries from falling.
- Bone Loss – Prevent and/or reverse bone loss by exercising. Weight bearing exercises like weight lifting does wonders for your bones and muscles.
The National Institute on Aging has a guide for exercising as you age to help you live better and longer.
There are a lot of ways to get started and I highly recommend you start today.
There are other benefits of exercise for aging adults besides making you live longer; Exercising helps you:
- Improve Mental Health – Exercising releases hormones that help you feel good. They are called Endorphins. Exercising also helps you relax by relieving stress. You feel good and you also sleep good.
- Get Socially Engaged – Find an activity you love and join a club or engage at the gym. Social engagement is very important. Being socially engaged gives you a sense of purpose and relieves loneliness and depression.
- Improve Cognitive Ability – There are many studies that show that exercise improves your brain function. Physical activity decreases the risk for dementia. It boosts your memory too! It doesn’t matter when you start, just start.
- Prevent Disease – A simple walking program improves the immune system. Diseases like diabetes and heart disease can be averted by exercising and eating sensibly.
- Increased Energy – Exercise energizes so if you are low on energy this in one way to get more.
There was a study done at Brigham Young showing that about 9 years was added to adults lives who had higher activity levels. They looked at 6000 adults. They also found that the telomeres were longer indicating that the biological age was younger.
Another study found that men and women in their 70’s who exercise regularly have the lungs, heart and muscle fitness of healthy people 30 years younger!
I find that amazing! It turns out that exercising has some powerful benefits that should motivate older adults to get up and get moving.
Adding Years to Your Life with Exercise
The best way to add quality years to your life is to start small. All exercise will add years but to get the most boost to your longevity there are certain exercises that are found to be best.
The easiest one is walking and build up to at least an hour a day. Studies show that those that get up to 450 minutes per week have the greatest benefit not to prematurely die than those who don’ t exercise at all. Start with just 30 minutes a day and build up to an hour.
Here are the best ways to get the greatest benefit for living longer and healthier:
- Start Small – Do what ever you can and build on that. It may be that you just get out of the chair every 30 minutes to start. If that’s all you can manage, then that’s where you start.
- Get an exercise buddy – There was a study done that followed 9000 people. It found that exercising with others added more years than exercising alone. It had to do with having fun and socializing. Social connections are strongly linked to longevity. Having fun reduces cortisol (stress hormone) levels .
- Get better balance – It’s important to exercise on balance. As we age we tend to lose good balance. One study showed that people in their 50’s who could stand on one leg with their eyes closed for 10 seconds, had less premature deaths.
- High Intensity Interval training – This is also called HITT. It is where you exercise to get you heart rate up then slow down and continue to exercise. This type of exercising has been shown to reverse the signs of aging at a cellular level.
If you want to make starting easy for yourself or just need some guidance, I recommend this inexpensive program. It’s called “The Never Grow Old Fitness Program”
Make sure you check it out.
The question “Can working out in old age make you live longer?” is answered with a big fat “YES!” If you are reading this a are up in age or if your young, start to exercise if you haven’t done so yet. You will live longer, better, heathier and happier. Just get up and do it. I hope you do.
Please let me know if I have helped you. I like to hear from readers so please leave a comment or if you have a question.