Daily Exercise is Necessary and Needed for Good Health
- A pattern of lifelong exercise is believed to contribute to our ability to retain healthy levels of muscle mass, muscle strength, body fat and cholesterol as we age
New research underscores the value of and need of the human body has for regular exercise. In one study, older adults who exercised regularly were shown to have stronger immune systems, as evidenced by higher T-cell activity, than their non-exercising peers.
While we might expect that result, researchers found the immune function of this particular group of very active adult cyclists, ages 55 to 79, to be comparable to young adults in their 20’s
Related research indicates a pattern of lifelong exercise also enables us to retain healthy levels of muscle mass, muscle strength, body fat and cholesterol as we age.
In a separate study, moderate- to high-intensity aerobic exercise at least 4 days a week was shown to boost the heart health and circulatory function of middle-aged adults, as compared to more moderate exercise 3 days a week.
One researcher called the middle years the “sweet spot” for heart and blood vessels because they still have some plasticity, and exercise promotes elasticity and oxygen flow.
So, whatever you do, reduce the amount of time you spend sitting and look for ways to get more exercise and movement into the daily routine. You are certain to feel better and your immune system and heart will thank you.
- Less than 50% of adults over age 65 get enough exercise to stay healthy
- More than 50% of adults aged 65 or older suffer from at least 2 chronic diseases
“The study really tells us that staying physically active all of your adult life can prevent much of what we think of as aging, including immune aging,” said study author and professor Janet Lord, director of the Institute of Inflammation and Aging at the UK’s University of Birmingham.
She added: “The immune system declines by about 2 to 3 percent a year from our 20s, which is why older people are more susceptible to infections, conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and, potentially, cancer. Because the cyclists have the immune system of a 20-year-old rather than a 70- or 80-year-old, it means they have added protection against all these issues.”
Professor Emeritus Norman Lazarus, 82 anni, of the Center of Human and Aerospace Physiological Sciences at King’s College London, who was a study participant and coauthor of the research, said, “If exercise was a pill, everyone would be taking it.”
Professor of human and applied physiology and Center director Steve Harridge stated, “Being sedentary goes against evolution because humans are designed to be physically active.”
According to Science Daily, the research drew from a particular subset of fit older adults.
To join the study, the 125 participants met the following criteria:
- Men had to be able to cycle 100 kilometers (km), roughly 62 miles, in under 6.5 hours
- Women had to be able to cycle 60 km, about 37 miles, in 5.5 hours
- Excluded from consideration were smokers and heavy drinkers, as well as those suffering from high blood pressure or other health conditions
Given those baselines, the exercising group was compared to a group of non-exercisers; 75 healthy older adults ages 57 to 80 and 55 healthy young adults ages 20 to 36.
About the comparisons NBC News Health said, “Here’s more evidence that regular exercise really is the best medicine: Avid cyclists as old as 79 had healthy muscle and immune function as good as people 30 years younger who did not exercise.”
In a related study, interestingly, the exercise group showed no loss of muscle mass or muscle strength. Beyond that, researchers noted participant body fat and cholesterol levels did not increase with age.
Moreover, they observed testosterone levels among the men remained high, aiding the participants in avoiding most of the effects of “male menopause.”
Brian Matkins, 82 anni, a member of the internationally recognized cycling organization Audax that organizes long-distance bike rides all-around the UK, said, “One of the 1st results I got from the medical study was I was told my body fat was comparable to that of a 19-year-old.”
Ms. Lord stated: “Importantly, our findings debunk the assumption that aging automatically makes us frailer. Our research means we now have strong evidence that encouraging people to commit to regular exercise throughout their lives is a viable solution to the problem that we are living longer, but not healthier, [lives].”
Similar to the thymus gland, the heart also stiffens and shrinks as we age. It is also affected by the amount of exercise we get.
A study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, focusing on the exercise habits of older adults, indicates regular physical exercise can, in effect, revitalize the heart.
The benefits of exercise is long standing and well known
The current statistics about the health and activity levels of older adults in the US include the following:
- Approximately 80% of older adults suffer from at least 1 chronic disease, while 77% are battling at least 2.
- Less than 5% of adults get 30 mins of daily physical activity, and only 1 in 3 adults meets the exercise recommendations issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)for weekly physical activity
- Only 33% of adults ages 65 to 74 are physically active
- More than 80% of adults do not meet the recommended guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities
The exercise recommendations made by the CDC of at least 2.5 hrs of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week, 75 mins of vigorous-intensity activity, or a combination of both, should be seen as a starting point.
So, every bit of movement and exercise you incorporate into your day beyond those markers will be beneficial.
Research published in Y 2015 concluded the ideal exercise dose for health and longevity is actually 7.5 hrs per week, or just over 1 hr a day.
The amount of time spent exercising will be influenced by the types of exercise you choose.
The more intense the exercise, the less time you need to spend at it.
The best way to achieve optimal health is to adopt a comprehensive fitness routine includes proper diet and sleep.
Chances are you are sitting down while reading this article.
It’s a common practice for many to sit in a chair all day for work, only to return home and spend even more hours sitting on a couch or chair. While it may sometimes be necessary and even comfortable, a growing body of research suggests this all-too-common practice is detrimental to both your physical and mental well-being.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), sedentary behavior is a major cause of premature death worldwide.
Prolonged sedentary time, defined as sitting for 8 hours or more each day has been associated with a number of health risks, independent of how much exercise you do.
As noted in the Annals of Internal Medicine, after evaluating 47 meta-analyses, researchers concluded, “Prolonged sedentary time was independently associated with deleterious health outcomes regardless of physical activity.”
By sitting too long, the study authors suggest people increase their risk of:
- Death from any cause
- Developing and dying from cancer
- Developing and dying from cardiovascular disease
- Suffering from Type 2 diabetes
The British Medical Journal says adults, on average, spend 9 to 10 hours each day sitting.
The damaging effects of this level of inactivity simply cannot be offset by a 30- or 60-min workout a few days a week.
The Key is to get more non-exercise movement into each day.
Below are some other tips to consider to reduce sitting, they include the following:
|Interspersing active tasks with sitting tasks as much as possible throughout the day||Taking small breaks hourly and incorporating stretching and other exercise into those breaks|
|Inviting co-workers to take part in standing or walking-and-talking conversations and meetings||Tracking how long you spend sitting and setting goals to reduce inactive hours|
|Setting goals to limit your sitting time and inviting others to join you in actively reducing the amount of time you spend sitting||Using reminders to trigger you to get up and move around after periods of sitting.|
So, Get up, move around and Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively and breathe.
Have a terrific week.