A new study today shows that starting exercise in middle age can give you the health benefits and prolonged life of someone who has been exercising from a younger age, and these benefits were as big or bigger than those gained by stopping smoking-so a lot!
Swedish researchers from Uppsala University monitored more than 2,200 men from the age of 50. They found those who increased activity levels from 50 to 60 ended up living as long as those who were already exercising regularly by middle age. Public health experts said the findings showed it was never too late to start exercising. The team asked the men about their activity levels at the start of the study in the early 1970s, when they were aged 50. The men were put into three groups – high levels of activity, moderate levels and sedentary. High levels was classed as those who did at least three hours of sports or heavy gardening each week. Moderate was said to be the equivalent of several hours of walking or cycling, while people who were classed as sedentary spent most of their free time watching TV. Their exercise habits were then reassessed at the age of 60. The team found that those who were doing high levels of activity at the age of 50 lived 2.3 years longer than sedentary men and 1.1 years longer than those who reported medium levels of activity – once a range of factors such as weight, alcohol intake and smoking was taken into account. But interestingly the researchers found that those who increased their activity level to high – whether they were in the moderate or low group – from the age of 50 to 60 also lived the longest.It was not clear what effect reducing activity levels during this period had, the British Medical Journal report said.
So yet again a new study has shown what we at Diets Don’t Work have secretly known for ages. Many (the majority in fact) of our personal training clients in London, Windsor and Ascot only start exercise when they get a personal trainer, and many of them are in their 40’s and 50’s. In fact we have many PT clients who are actually older than this, all the way up to 84! One of my own clients, GM, is 64 and can do 2 sets of push-ups, tons of squats, and has recently done a fashion photo shoot for Bruce Oldfield! and a fine plank for 2 minutes. Not only is it too late to start exercise, but the older you are the greater and more visible the gains and progress will be. For a younger person getting fit might mean losing a bit of weight, getting less breathless going up the stairs or being able to run for 20 minutes. For an older client it can be the difference between needing a helper to do the weekly shop to being fit and able to carry 6 bags up the hill and back home. It also prevents the onset of osteoporosis, prevents falls and injuries at work and at play, improves sex life (a lot) and gives mental stability and well being. In other words it can make a huge difference in quality of life. So if you lack motivation then you might just benefit from some one on one personal training, we have lots of experience with the more mature client. If you don’t believe me have a look at our success stories page; hardly any of these clients are under 40.