Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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October 31, 2012

It's never too late to start exercising

I don’t know about you, but I find it all too easy to sometimes come up with a reason I just can’t exercise on a given day.

I tell myself that my life is too crowded with work and meetings, or that I’m too tired from sleeping poorly the night before. Mind you, if I do exercise I always feel the better for it.

But there is what a scientist might call an “energy barrier” to finding what it takes within myself to go for a swim at noon or a significant walk after work.

I find that as I get older, it’s not easier to come up with the energy to exercise. So in that sense I can sympathize with people who are now in retirement who find it quite a struggle to work up a sweat on a regular basis.

In short, I’m sure it’s easy for older Americans to come up with excuses to avoid daily exercise. And some people do have medical conditions that prevent them from lifting weights or playing tennis.

But it’s also true that most of us, whatever our age, could do better than we do. And the news is that even if you are in retirement, it’s not too late to start to enjoy the good effects of regular exercise. At least that’s the picture painted by a recent study from Sweden reported by the website WebMD.

It was a big study, following 1,800 people for 18 years. People in the study were at least 75 years old when they were enrolled in the program. Half of the participants lived to be 90 years old or older.

Results of the study showed that participants who swam, walked or exercised regularly in other ways lived an average of two years more than those who didn’t. And exercise was the single biggest predictor of how long a person in the study was going to live.

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