Is Exercise the Wonder Drug for Aging?

If you could do one thing to improve your longevity, your physical health and your state of mind as you age, it’s as simple as this: move. Studies have shown regular exercise is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, several forms of cancer, depression and dementia in older people. But only about one in four older Americans exercises regularly, researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found, and nearly half get no exercise at all.

We’ve all seen the local TV news features about the90-year-old running his 20th marathon. But those are outliers; exercising can be as easy as getting up from the couch and walking around the house and as cheap as a pair of sweatpants and athletic shoes. The sheer inertia of a sedentary lifestyle, however, often prevents people from taking that first step.

“A lot of the patients I see in my clinic are very sedentary,” said Dr. Ronan Factora, a geriatrician at the Cleveland Clinic. “It’s a lot easier to take a pill than to go out and take a walk. And sometimes it’s even a struggle for me to get my patients to stand up and walk around and not sit down for long periods of time.”

Excerpted from Market Watch

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