Maybe you used to exercise when you were younger but have slipped into a more sedentary lifestyle, or maybe you were never much of exerciser in the first place. Either way, there’s good news: exercising can help you live longer, no matter when you start.
A new study shows that people who start exercising later in life—even as late as their early 60s—can get the same health benefits as someone who has been exercising regularly all their lives.
According to the report, which surveyed 315 ,059 participants aged 50-71 about their exercise habits between the ages of 15 and 61, people who exercise regularly from adolescence through late adulthood reduce their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other causes by 29% to 36%.
It’s no surprise that people who exerciser regularly throughout their lives live longer, but the study also showed that people who get active in their 40s see the same health benefits as those who have always been active. According to the study, people who are inactive in their early years but start exercising in midlife can reduce their mortality risk by 32% to 35%.
Federal guidelines for physical activity suggest that adults get 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous activity every week. Not all older adults are physically up for that much activity, but even a little bit helps. According to a study of the exercise habits of 1,170 adults aged 74-84, even those who did light activity, like doing chores or walking to the mailbox, were significantly less likely to have heart problems than those who were completely sedentary.
Getting started with exercise can be overwhelming. If you need some help getting started, check out our blog post Want to Get Fit? Start with Small Changes and Concrete Goals.
Want to measure your progress and identify areas for improvement? Take a baseline fitness assessment to see how you measure up to others in your age group and see where you need work.