The All-Ages Reason to Exercise

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Being fit in your forties and fifties can significantly delay the onset of disease and improve the quality of life in your seventies, eighties, and nineties, a recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine reports. Researchers tracked the medical records of more than 18,000 people to discover that those who exercised during middle age, even if they had just started to work out, were less likely to develop chronic illness like heart disease, colon cancer, and Alzheimer’s until their last five years of life, instead of living with those diseases for 10 or 20 years. The fittest midlifers were also less likely to get sick at all. You don’t have to undertake a strict fitness regimen to get results, though: Increasing your activity level by only a little or walking numerous days a week is enough to boost health later in life if you’ve been inactive, study authors say.