The positive benefits of exercise
Exercise can have so many benefits on your physical and mental wellbeing including the feelgood factor you get from physical exertion.
But did you know it can also help you to live longer?
Would you dedicate ten minutes of your day to extend your lifespan?
That’s right, research shows that even just ten minutes of exercise per day can increase your life expectancy by nearly two years.
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends an adult should exercise for 150 minutes per week.
The National Institute of Health found that completing 75 minutes of exercise per week can add nearly two years (1.8 years to be exact) to the life expectancy of adults aged over 40.
Completing 150 minutes of exercise per week can add 3.4 years to life expectancy, while 300 minutes per week can add 4.2 years.
Furthermore, research conducted by the likes of Harvard University and National Cancer Institute shows a small amount of exercise, still falling below the suggested 150-minute mark, could decrease the risk of premature death by 20 per cent in a sample of 661,000 middle-aged adults.
So, would you dedicate ten minutes of your time every day to live longer?
If you’re still unconvinced, the experts at online fitness and specialist sports equipment store www.sweatband.com have outlined the biggest benefits of working out regularly:
Slow the signs of aging
Researchers at Brigham Young University compared the DNA of nearly 6,000 adults and found that regular exercise will help preserve your youthful looks as you age.
In fact, cells in active people begin aging nine years later than those who are inactive. You could not only live longer, but look younger for longer too.
Avoid bone conditions
Regularly working out can increase the strength of weight-bearing bones, such as the leg bones, pelvis and spine.
Without exercise, bones can become brittle and weak, leading to life-changing conditions such as osteoporosis. In particular, resistance exercise can help prevent bone deterioration.
Decrease risk of heart disease
The World Health Organization found that exercising for 150 minutes per week reduces the risk of ischemic heart disease by 30 per cent.
Additionally, it can lower the chances of developing high blood pressure and having a stroke.
Improve mental health
Exercise can improve mental health in a wide range of ways, largely by releasing hormones such as endorphins and norepinephrine.
Endorphins increase the feelings of pleasure and wellbeing while reducing discomfort and pain while norepinephrine helps control the brain’s reaction to stress.
Going outside to exercise can also alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness.
If you can find a gym or running buddy, turning exercise into a social activity can also further combat feelings of loneliness and depression.
Improve heart, lung and muscle health
The Brigham Young University found that active 70-year-old men and women had comparable heart and lung capacity and muscle strength to active 40-year-old men and women.
Needless to say, 30 years is an awfully long time and most people would expect the older demographic to be weaker overall.
However, regular exercise while aging keeps the heart, lungs and muscles healthy and strong.
Those living a sedentary lifestyle, whether it’s due to a condition, injury rehabilitation or pain management, might not think that exercising for ten minutes a day is a valuable option for them.
However, there are still a range of simple exercises for those either unable to complete or uncomfortable with doing more conventional exercises.
Consider cross-reach toe touches, seated wood chops, side bends and windmills as good exercises to start with.
In a survey of 600 UK adults conducted by Sweatband, more than three quarters of respondents (78 per cent) said they weren’t aware that exercising for ten minutes a day could increase their lifespan by two years. Of those, 64 per cent said they will now re-evaluate their current exercise pattern.
Ruth Stone, consultant PT for www.sweatband.com, commented: “There’s so much research to prove that regular exercise throughout your week, no matter how little, can have an amazing impact on peoples’ health and life expectancy.”
She added: “Why wouldn’t you want to age slower, have a healthy heart into your 70s and live longer?
“It might not seem like enough to make a difference but dedicating just ten minutes of your day to add nearly two more years of life expectancy and the quality of life that being fit brings with it is more than worth it.
“People who dedicate even more time daily to nurture their physical health and fitness can live even longer.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.