Dr Michael Mosley on the benefits of exercise

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Getting older is something we all have to deal with, but there are some tips which it could be worth following over the years. It’s never too late for a lifestyle change in order to avoid possible health ailments further down the line.

Getting fit and healthy comes naturally to some but for others it’s more difficult.

Whether it be finding the motivation or it’s down to other factors out of an individual’s control, the route to leading a healthier lifestyle seems daunting.

Experts have stressed the importance of doing everything we can to avoid going into “decline” when we hit a certain age.

It’s no secret the term “old age” is marred with joint issues, heart disease and cognitive problems.

According to a 2019 study by National Cancer Institute in the US, getting active in midlife could reduce the risk of an early death.

Never underestimate the power of a good exercise routine, especially for older people.

As adults begin to age, experts advise people to “keep moving” if they want to continue leading a pain-free lifestyle with a “reduced risk of mental illness” and the ability to “stay independent”.

Dr Pedro Saint-Maurice, lead author of NCI’s research, explained the importance behind maintaining an active lifestyle, suggesting older people can “extend their life expectancy”.

“If you are not active, and you get to your 40s-50s and decide to become active, you can still enjoy a lot of those benefits,” he said.

Rose Ann Kenny, professor of medical gerontology at Trinity College, Dublin, revealed different types of exercise are also important factors when a person begins their journey to getting fit.

“Most people know the benefits of aerobic exercise, but resistance exercise (with weights) is just as important in keeping bones and muscles strong,” she said.

It has been reported that research from Australia and Nigeria has found that individuals spending three seconds a day on an “eccentric” bicep curl – slowly extending a free weight down below the waist – can lead to significant strength improvements.

For cardio training, the national guidelines state that people should aim for more than 150 minutes a week, which can include activities such as brisk walking, swimming, running, or cycling.

Professor Kenny also advised “never to sit still for more than 45 minutes at a time”.

“For every year after the age of 60, aim to do slightly more exercise than you did the year before,” she continued.

“And at all ages, try to restrict your calories – again, to a greater extent than when you were younger.

“Just when people tell themselves ‘it’s too late’ to change, it’s absolutely the time when they need to start.

“Your body still has the ability to change and renew, even in your 60s and 70s – all the way up to your 90s, in fact.”

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