You bet! A new study from the Division of Immunology and Rheumatology in the Department of Medicine at Stanford University in California shows that moderate to vigorous exercise decreases risk of disability and death as we age.
The researchers followed a group of age 50+ runners in California for over two decades. After only 19 years, 15% of runners had died, compared to 34% of controls. It also took longer for runners to become disabled compared to controls.
Here’s the take-home message: get off the couch and get moving, especially as you get older. Run, walk (vigorously, meaning that you’re working hard enough that you can’t sing, but you can still talk in phrases), play basketball or hockey, hike, snowboard or ski. You get the idea. Instead of thinking of middle age as the time when you kick back and watch TV or the grandkids running around, join those grandkids and get moving!
Arch Internal Med, 2008, Vol. 168, No. 15, pp. 1638-1646