A new study suggests that middle age may be an excellent time to exercise, especially if you care about avoiding chronic disease in old age. Researchers found that people who lead an active life in their 30s, 40s, and 50s were less likely to suffer from diseases like diabetes as they aged. For every 20 percent someone increased his fitness level, he or she saw a 20 percent drop in his or her risk of chronic disease. The relationship between fitness and disease held true for both men and women.
The scientists also found that physical fitness did not seem to confer a longer life. Rather, it just ensured that people would be healthier as they aged. While less fit adults were likely to suffer from lung and heart problems and endure a slow decline, the adults who exercised in middle age stayed healthy and active until they died suddenly. Researchers recommend that middle-aged adults engage in two and a half hours of moderate exercise a week in order to preserve their health into old age.
About the Author: Dr. Cedric Fernando practices medicine in Tennessee. Dr. Fernando serves as Medical Director for the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital Occupational Health Department in Erwin.