It's never too late to start sports, and although moderate exercise is a regular practice from childhood, a new study concludes that even people who start physical activity after retirement can achieve great health benefits, from prolonging their life expectancy to reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases.

Avoid overweight, and control blood pressure and cholesterol levels, are just some of the beneficial effects of physical exercise for health. Now, a study that has been published in 'Archives of Internal Medicine' has analyzed the influence of sport - walking, swimming, going to the gym - on the long-term quality of life, and if this influence was also noticeable when People started exercising in old age.

Physical exercise in adulthood contributes to healthy aging, reduces the risk of suffering chronic pathologies, and significantly improves the quality of life

The conclusions have not been more positive, and that physical exercise in adulthood contributes to healthy aging, decreases the chances of suffering from pathologies typical of old age, and significantly improves the quality of life. Thus, and as observed in the research, improve life habits and move from walking or running occasionally to do it regularly - with an average of 16 kilometers per week - can reduce up to 20% the probability of suffering a chronic disease at 65 years of age or older.

Certain factors such as the genetic inheritance, the socioeconomic level and the race of the 18,670 people evaluated in this study have been able to influence the results of it; Therefore, Diane E Bild, of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of Bethesda, Maryland (United States), believes that it would be advisable to carry out a new study that took into account all these parameters, to establish definitively the relationship between physical activity and quality of life in old age.

Although another study, conducted in Sweden by researchers at the Center for Aging Research at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, has even specified how many years of life can be achieved by adopting healthy lifestyles from 75 years of age.

According to the authors of this research -in which data were analyzed of 1,810 people aged 75 or older who were followed over a period of 18 years-, those who started walking, swimming or doing gymnastics, lived two years longer than those who they did not. If they joined the practice of sport other 'healthy habits' as a balanced diet, abandon harmful habits, and stay active socially, men came to live up to six more years, and women, five. They observed that even after reaching 85 years, a healthy lifestyle can extend life expectancy four years.

How playing sports benefits your body ... and your brain - Leah Lagos and Jaspal Ricky Singh (November 2019).