One large exercise study combined six smaller ones totaling more than 650,000 people from twenty-two to ninety-eight years of age. These people were followed closely for over ten years. On the average, the lifespan and quality of health of the group were increased an average of three-point-four years after age forty.
If you are forty-five years of age this year, your estimated life expectancy is seventy-eight. Your life expectancy should increase to eighty-one-plus years if you start exercising regularly. Is the investment of two plus hours of exercise a week worth living three plus more years? Is it possible to improve the quality of your life at the end of your life by exercising now? I personally think so.
What if we just walk, rather than exercise vigorously? What if we combine strength training with other types of exercise (flexibility, core strength, endurance, balance, and cardio)? What is the possibility of injury? There are many unanswered questions. Anything in moderation is generally considered to be good. Running ultramarathons every other week is way outside the envelope. Sitting on the couch is also outside the envelope – in the opposite extreme.
What makes the most sense? Routine vigorous exercise improves the lengths of telomeres – and maximum anaerobic exercise increases HGH levels. Both these exercise options increase our life expectancy. This doesn’t mean that every exercise day, we are exercising to the max. It means that we incorporate maximum levels of effort periodically. Good to great health doesn’t require consistently high levels of exercise.
What kind of exercise do you need to have a good quality of life (a body of a healthy 50-year old) when you exceed your 80s? We need functional strength, balance, flexibility, core strength, and endurance. There are many exercise selections that can be combined to yield the results we want and need as we age.