The jury is in when it comes to exercise and fitness. Those who do the most live the longest.
Researchers looked at the records of more than 5,000 middle-aged and elderly people from the Framingham Heart Study, a well-known study that has followed the residents of Framingham, Massachusetts for more than 40 years, collecting detailed information about their lifestyles and health. Accounting for the effects of other factors such as age, sex, education, and whether they smoked or had serious health problems, researchers determined that the amount and intensity of physical activity directly impacted longevity.
People who engaged in moderate activity, such as walking 30 minutes a day for five days a week, lived about 1.3 to 1.5 years longer than those who were less active. Those who took on more intense activity, such as running 30 minutes a day for five days a week, extended their lives by about 3.5 to 3.7 years. The findings also show that people extended their lives even when they did not start exercising until after they were already middle-aged.
So getting a late start is no reason to not start at all. Regular exercise, at any age, will have a positive impact on health, quality of life, and longevity. It not only assists people to live longer; it also assists people to live better without succumbing to many of the chronic diseases that have sometimes been labeled as “diseases of civilization.” Civilization is not the cause; sedentary lifestyles, poor nutrition, and unhealthy habits underlie them all.
There are, of course, many factors to consider in addition to physical activity. The website www.realage.com is an excellent resource if you want to take a detailed look at how you are doing. The medical doctors behind the site make a distinction between your “real age” and your “chronological age.” Your “chronological age” is how many years you have been alive. Your “real age” is the “biological age of your body based on how well you’ve maintained it.” In other words, you may be older or younger than your chronological age with regular physical activity being one of the positive factors.
Don’t be afraid to explore your real age. Awareness is the first step to change. Once you discover your real age, explore the positive factors that you enjoy most and find ways to incorporate more of them into your life. When that happens, you may end up getting younger with each passing year. And that’s something most of us can appreciate.
Coaching Inquiries: Do you know your real age? How often do you get moderate or intense physical activity? What activities do you enjoy most? How could you include more of these activities in your daily life? What steps would you have to take, and what boundaries would you have to set, in order to make exercise a daily routine?
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
2010-2011 President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
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