There is an old fashioned view that if you weren’t sporty as a kid you will never be. It can make us think – why bother? However, new research proves that people who have never been active get enormous benefits from taking up exercise in midlife. In fact, people who start exercising in midlife build up the same benefits as those that have always worked out. The added bonus being you probably have fewer injuries from overstraining! The reverse is true if you stay stuck to the sofa – doing so reduces your quality and length of life.
So if you need more evidence to inspire you to exercise, here are 9 facts on the significant benefits of being active.
Starting to exercise in Midlife has huge longevity benefits.
- A large 2019 study of 315k people from the National Cancer Institute reported that people who started exercising in midlife had the same protection against mortality as people that had always worked out. The bad news? The reverse is also true: if you stop exercising in midlife, all the longevity benefits you accrued evaporate.
Exercising can give you a body that is 30 years younger.
- A 2018 study of people in their 70s who exercised showed they had the cardiovascular health and muscles of people 30 years younger. The researchers even said they were indistinguishable in many ways from those of healthy 25-year-olds!
Even a mild 10-minute exercise can boost your brain.
- Short and easy exercise, like walking, can alter the way that parts of the brain communicate with each other. It also can help to boost memory function. Californian researcher proved in 2018 that even mild exertion gives significant benefits. That makes it abig plus for those of us who worry about dementia.
Not exercising can be more deadly than smoking and diabetes.
- A large 2018 study led by the Cleveland Clinic found that a sedentary lifestyle should be seen as a disease. They reported that a sedentary life is a massive risk factor for death and is worse than being a smoker, having diabetes or heart disease
Social sports give bigger physical and mental benefits.
- Adding a social dimension to being active increases the health benefits even more. A large Danish study in 2018 found that people that played social or team sports, like tennis or soccer, live longer than those who do solitary fitness like jogging, swimming or cycling. The study found that all exercise increased longevity, but while cycling added 3.7 years, and running 3.2, to a person’s life, tennis added 9.7, badminton added 6.2, and soccer added roughly 5 years.
Midlife exercise lowers depression and Cardiovascular Disease.
- Men and women who are more physically fit at midlife have a much lower risk of depression and death from cardiovascular disease later in life. Compared with those in the lowest fitness category, people in the highest were 16% less likely to have depression, 61% less likely to have a cardiovascular illness and 56% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.
Weekend workouts are as effective as more regular exercise.
- Do you have limited time to exercise in the week? Researchers at Loughborough University in 2016 found that the “weekend warrior” exerciser (jamming their weekly exercise into a couple of workouts) lessened the risk of early death as much as those doing frequent workouts throughout the week.
Intense exercise for a few minutes is enough.
- A surprising discovery from McMaster University found that 60 seconds of intense exertion proved as successful at improving health/fitness as three-quarters of an hour of moderate exercise. So imagine the benefits of a 15 minute HIIT session!
150 minutes a week the optimum exercise level of a long life.
- A National Cancer Institute/Harvard University study of 661,000 midlifers revealed that 150 minutes a week produced the most dramatic gains. There were some upticks to around 450 minutes/week but only small gains for extreme athletics.
This is just a taster of some of the growing research putting a spotlight of the benefits of exercising in midlife So why are you sat there reading this! Lets get outside…..
Download our Midlife Exercise Guide for more tips and workouts: