If you want to live longer, remember this mantra: Better late than never.
Even if you've never exercised before, giving up your couch potato ways in midlife can help you reach a whole bunch more birthdays. In fact, it could slash your mortality rate in half. (That's a benefit equivalent to quitting smoking!)
How Exercise Adds Up
How many years you add through everyday activity depends on what you do. A recent study suggested that an average 50-year-old man could expect to earn two more birthday candles by becoming moderately active and doing things like walking or riding a bike for fun. He can reach another two candles by becoming highly active, doing things like heavy gardening, high-intensity recreational sports, or strenuous physical training at the gym for at least 3 hours per week. (Want to play hard? Find out how many calories racquetball burns.)
Going the Distance
After several years — 10 to be exact — researchers believe that the benefits of living a highly active lifestyle are maximized in people who were previously inactive. They enjoy the same reduced mortality rates as people who were already highly active in midlife and continued to be so. Need help getting started? Try these tips:
- Out of shape? This beginner walking workout fits the bill.
Watch this video to see how building 5 pounds of muscle could help you burn 26 pounds of fat.
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