Besides having a natural diet that is balanced and diversified, physical activity plays an important part in maintaining our mental and physical health.
Numerous doctors recommend light daily walks, especially for people that are overweight, unhealthy or advanced in age. A recent study has confirmed that 15 minutes of daily walks are enough to reduce the risk of death by 22%.
Studies on physical activity and longevity
French researchers wanted to find out how much physical activity is necessary for elder people in order to live longer. The study was done on an impressive scale: 123,000 people with ages between 60 and 65 have been observed over a period of 12 years.
Besides walking, participants took part in other physical activities that were just as effective: gardening, tennis, swimming, and cycling.
The study was conducted by Dr. David Hupin, who is part of the Department of Clinical and Exercise Physiology at the Universitary Hospital of Saint-Etienne, France. According to his statements, most seniors are sadly unable to reach the 30-minute duration for their exercises, which is what experts recommend on a daily basis.
However, the results of these studies bring good news for the elder people: it has been found that only 15 minutes of daily exercise are enough to improve longevity. The benefits of physical activity for older persons have been found to be irreplaceable by medication or any other approaches.
Lack of exercise is devastating
Another recent study has shown that lack of exercise can get us older by 20 years in just a matter of weeks. Researchers from the University of Texas followed the awful effects that the absence of physical activity has on young people.
Their experiment was done on 5 young people, 20 years of age each. For research purposes, they were required to lay in bed for 3 weeks. The conclusions of this test were astonishing: at the end of the 3 weeks, these young people presented the physical condition typically expected in 40-year-old men. Not leaving the bed for an extended period of time leads to the following health problems:
- their heart rate while at rest was increased
- their muscles were weakened
- their blood pressure was increased
- their hearts presented reduced strength and efficiency
- the amount of fat in their bodies increased
After these 3 weeks of inactivity, the participants took part in a physical activity program for the next 8 weeks, with impressive results. The damaging effects of the sedentary period were reversed once exercise became part of their daily routine.
The study should serve to dispel the fear that physical activity is a demanding task best left to those who are already used to it.
It is not necessary that you go to the gym or do any other kind of immense effort in order to stay in shape and improve your health. A few minutes of light walking each day have been shown to be enough. It’s such a simple and basic activity to do for raising your life expectancy!