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Exercise to Increase Your Healthspan and Lifespan

There’s a lot of truth in the adage, use it or lose it, and it has to do with more than just staying in shape. It turns out that aerobic exercise also provides some amazing cognitive benefits.

And it is hands down, the most important intervention we have for aging.

Not only does physical activity improve cardiovascular health, help to regulate weight, and lower risk of type 2 diabetes. It also helps to prevent strokes, dementia and even cancer.

We’re meant to be physically active throughout our lives, but at some point, between the ages of 60 and 80, we start to lose energy and muscle strength as the biology of aging affects our whole body. Cardiovascular ability also declines with age, so strength training and cardiovascular exercises are particularly important as we get older.

The key is to try a wide variety of activities and exercises that increase strength and bolster your cardiovascular system, and to stick with the ones that you enjoy most. It’s also important to retain flexibility and balance as well.

It’s extremely important to start slowly if exercise is not already part of your lifestyle. The type and amount of exercise that’s best for you may be harmful for someone else, we’re all different.

It’s usually recommended that people exercise for at least 25 minutes from three to five times a week. There is nothing that supports this absolutely, and there’s nothing that disputes it. It’s just a reasonable recommendation for the population in general.

  • Physical activity is crucial to health span and will increase your chances of passing age 80.

  • A study that followed 650,000 people over about 10 years shows that moderate exercise such as a brisk walk for 75 minutes a week added almost two years to people’s life expectancy.

  • People who average 2 ½ to five hours of exercise a week gained 3 ½ years in life expectancy.

  • People who exercise an hour a day added 4 ½ years.

This said, fitting exercise into your life needs to be easy, and you need to start where you are. If you are mostly sedentary, you’re not going to run a marathon next week. Take it slow so you don't cause injury, and fit exercise into your life in the most underwhelming way possible.

If you’d like help figuring out what looks like for you, schedule a free consultation to see how we can work together to help you achieve that goal:

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