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Physical Activity Lengthens Your Life

Lately, I've posted a number of articles about the benefits of exercise on the short-term for the sedentary and even as a weapon against the flu.

A new study gives the middle-aged another good reason to get off the couch and become more physically active, especially if they have conditions that endanger their hearts, like diabetes, high blood pressure or bad habits like smoking.

Based on data collected on some 9,600 adults in their 50s and 60s, those who were regularly active were about 35 percent less likely to die in the next eight years than those who were sedentary. For those who had a high heart risk because of several underlying conditions, the reduction was 45 percent.

Adults who participated in the study didn't have to run marathons to get the death-reducing benefit either. The reduced risk was seen even among those who walked, gardened, or went dancing a few times a week, as well as those who pursued more vigorous activities. Even those who were obese had a lower risk of death if they were regularly active.

Why is it so important for people with heart problems to exercise? Typically, those who have a high heart risk are much more likely to be sedentary, perhaps out of fear exercising could hurt them. If that's a concern, just consider the benefits you can get merely from 10-minute increments of exercise.

Science Blog November 5, 2004

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