Keeping Fit in Midlife Helps Prevent Chronic Illness
Here's some incentive to get moving: People who are fit in midlife are less likely to develop chronic illnesses. Researchers studied Medicare claims spanning an average of 26 years to determine the rate of chronic illness in more than 18,600 people who had completed a fitness test when they were about 50 years old. Those with the best fitness level in midlife were less likely than the least fit participants to develop one or more of eight chronic conditions—type 2 diabetes, heart disease, congestive heart failure, stroke, colon or lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, kidney disease, and Alzheimer's. During their last five years of life, the fittest people spent half as much time with four or more chronic conditions as the least fit. Though the study doesn't prove cause and effect, it bolsters research that shows exercise can improve health—now and later.
Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, published online Aug. 27, 2012