How fit you are may determine how long you live. For seniors, fitness counts much more than whether or not they have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Surprisingly, it even counts more than whether or not you are a smoker. Between 1991 and 2009 more than 6500 seniors over the age of 70 were tested using stress tests on treadmills.
After the test, all participants were tracked for almost 10 years. During that time 39% of them died. Not surprisingly, it was the group who were the most fit who lived the longest. They were almost twice as likely to still be alive than those who were the least fit. Heart disease risk factors made no difference in the likelihood of their still being alive. Those with no risk factors had the same chance of being alive as those with 3 or 4 risk factors. It was found that fitness level had the most to do with living longer.
How can you get moving?
- If you lead a sedentary lifestyle or haven’t been exercising, start slowly. Walking is a great exercise for the whole body that you can start at anytime.
- Look for low impact exercises, those that will help you stretch and make your body more agile. Many seniors find yoga enjoyable. It slowly increases your strength, aids in flexibility and also helps to relieve stress.
- Try strength training. There are many weights available now for beginners. Working with weights can be done at any age.
Exercise works best when you make it a habit or part of your routine. Aim for a half hour per day but if your miss a day or two, don’t worry about it. Just do what you can to move more. Getting fit and staying fit is part of aging well. Once seniors get started on any type of exercise programme they realize they feel better. Exercise results in more energy and better sleep at night. To read the full article on moving more as a senior, click here.