As we age, we tend to slow down — and not always by choice.
A gradual decline in activity may include giving up competitive sports as life gets busy, foregoing recreational activities because of an injury, or just having fewer excuses to get moving once you’ve retired.
But activity of some kind remains vital as you age.
A new study shows that maintaining some sort of activity can extend your life. More than 300,000 adults aged 50 to 71 were divided into three different groups based on their activity level.
The first group was the “maintainers” who kept up their activity level; the second group was the “decreasers” whose activity levels declined; and the third was the “increasers” whose activity levels increased with age.
The maintainers were found to have the lowest risk of early death, followed by the increasers and finally the decreasers. Interestingly, the decreasers didn’t fare any better in life expectancy than those who had been inactive their entire lives.
This indicates that even longtime couch potatoes can extend their lives by ramping up activity in their later years.
And while starting an exercise routine after years of inactivity can be daunting, don’t be too intimidated. The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of activity a week, which can be just 20 to 30 minutes of brisk walking per day. Just adding 2.5 hours of activity per week can decrease your risk of death by 28%!
So remember, it’s never too late to become (or continue) to be active. It could just save your life.