Does your weekly routine include a daily run or a few mornings at the gym? It turns out you may be doing your body a big favor. According to a new report, just 30 minutes of physical activity each day gives older men the advantage when it comes to longevity.
The new findings, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, come from the long-term Oslo study, which followed more than 15,000 men born between 1923 and 1932. Throughout the study, researchers monitored the participants’ general physical health and placed them in one of four groups based on their level of daily exercise: sedentary, light exercisers, moderate exercisers, and vigorous exercisers.
Overall, researchers concluded that men in their 60s and 70s who were moderate or vigorous exercisers (getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, six days a week) tended to live about five years longer than their sedentary counterparts—and that in terms of a longer lifespan, exercise was equally beneficial to quitting smoking.
Previous studies have shown that regular exercise not only helps seniors maintain mobility later in life but also promotes heart health and helps decrease the risk of having a heart attack. In light of this new data, the research team stressed the importance of promoting daily exercise as part of an overall health strategy for elderly men.
Each year in June is a time to focus on the health and well-being of our fathers, husbands, sons, and all the other men who have an important place in our lives. The hard truth is this: men are far less likely to seek health care. In fact, they are 24% less likely than women to have seen a doctor in the past yeari—but we can help put an end to that trend through education and awareness. Here are three important tips to pass on to your favorite guys:
- Make Healthy Eating a Priority. Experts recommend starting with small steps such as portion control (no super sizing) and remembering to eat a healthy breakfast. In general, focus on a diet high in protein from sources such as fish, poultry, tofu and eggs, along with plenty of low-sugar fruits, non-starchy vegetables, and healthy fats. Do your best to eliminate sugar, starchy carbs, and unhealthy fats.
- Stay Active. Regular exercise has oodles of health benefits. In addition to weight management and healthy heart function, physical activity has been linked to a better mood, healthier sleep, improved sexual function, and even healthier gut bacteria! (This is important because up to 80% of the immune system can be found in the gut.) Aim for at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week, with a good mix of cardio and strength training activities.
Prevention is Important! Frequent checkups and health screenings are the key to detecting—and possibly preventing—many health conditions. Meet with your doctor regularly to keep track of your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and weight. In addition, make sure you address those hard-to-talk-about issues such as prostate health and mental health.
i Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).