Earlier this year, Harvard published a study that found, with the increased life expectancy over the last few decades, people also have an increase in their disability-free life expectancy. This means growing older no longer means a life of simply managing health problems. The research discovered one of the main drivers is improved fitness and cardiovascular health.
Fitness experts have been promoting the anti-aging and youth-enhancing benefits of fitness forever. Fit bodies don’t only look younger, they suffer from fewer debilitating conditions and illnesses. Nonetheless, the Harvard study found improved cardiovascular health from decreased smoking rates and improved diets, along with more advanced medical treatment, is creating the benefit.
However, obesity is a growing concern. Researchers warn, “that if past obesity trends continued unabated, the negative effects on the health of the U.S. population will increasingly outweigh the positive effects gained from declining smoking rates.” While issues like cholesterol and high blood pressure have improved, diabetes has increased. Unfortunately, while the paper cautions about obesity, it makes no mention of exercise or the benefits.
The human body works similarly to any other mechanical device. Our bodies need proper use, maintenance, and fuel to stay in working condition. A car that sits in the garage, unused for years, will develop problems and so will our bodies. Our increasingly sedentary lifestyles means more aggressive medical treatment to manage issues, as the Harvard study notes.
The only way to lessen the need for medical intervention is with exercise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends exercise as a way to naturally reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers. It also strengthens bones and lowers risk of functional limitations, reducing falls and age-related fractures.
As the CDC notes, exercise lessens the risk of death due to health issues like heart attack and helps keep people disability-free. If you would like to talk about the anti-aging and youth-enhancing benefits of fitness, or need more information, please contact Teri.