Another Excuse Bites the Dust

22 September, 2012

Think it's too late to add years to your life? Studies say it isn't so.

Even if you're a late bloomer when it comes to exercise, don't let your couch-potato past stop you. Recent research found that sedentary women 65 and older who turned over a new leaf and got moving cut their chances of dying from cancer in half and from heart disease by a third. That's no small potatoes.

If you haven't moved a muscle in ages, put yourself on a walking program first -- aim for 30 minutes a day -- and make an appointment with your doctor for an exercise prescription. It should cover:

Type: Combines aerobic (stamina), strength, and flexibility exercise, but one type may be especially important for you.

Frequency: Lets you know how often you should exercise.

Intensity: Tells you how hard to push yourself. Basically, start at a comfortable level and work up from there.

Time: Sets a guideline for how long you should work out.

Progression: Helps you determine when to change what you're doing; set some step-by-step goals together.

Benefits: Makes clear what you can expect, and you'll understand the specific ways your routine will help your health.

After that, just follow doctor's orders.

SOURCES: Relationship of changes in physical activity and mortality among older women. Gregg, E. W., Cauley, J. A., Stone, K., Thompson, T. J., Bauer, D. C., Cummings, S. R., Ensrud, K. E.; Study of Osteoporotic Fractures Research Group, Journal of the American Medical Association 2003 May

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