Physical activity can increase your lifespan no matter what your age and past activity levels

A new study from the University of Cambridge has highlighted the benefits of maintaining or increasing activity in later life, and showing that it’s never too late to become more active when it comes to benefitting our health. The study followed 14,599 men and women from Norfolk, aged 40 to 79, for an average of 12.5 years. It assessed their change in activity levels over time, and how this is associated with mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

In 2016 the mortality rate was determined, with 3148 deaths occurring in total, 950 from cardiovascular disease and 1091 from cancer. The study discovered that in middle to older aged adults, there is substantial longevity benefits in becoming more physically active. Notably, this benefit was independent of other risk factors and people gained the benefits of increased physical activity whether they were active at the start of the study or not. This evidences that it really never is too late to take our health into our own hands and feel the benefits of increased physical activity.

This relationship between increased activity and reduction in risk of mortality was also seen in middle to older aged adults with cardiovascular disease or cancer, proving that physical activity is a powerful medicine for disease and can help extend peoples’ lives. At KiActiv®, we recognise the powers of physical activity for preventing and treatment of disease. We understand that physical activity plays a huge role in, not only increasing the quantity of life, but the quality too, and we aim to empower all people to take responsibility for their own health through increased physical activity.

Additionally, the study concluded that even those people who started with medium to high physical activity levels and maintained their activity had a reduced risk of mortality. This signifies that, going forward, preventing a decline in physical activity in mid to later life is a must. At KiActiv® we promote this through the message that every movement matters, shifting the focus from exercise/training to ALL the different types of activity we do as part of our everyday lives.

Maybe we won’t do the same types of activity we did 10 years ago. Perhaps, we won’t do the same types of activity as the person living across the street. But that’s okay! Physical activity has no limits and there is no right or wrong way. The key is to find out what activities count and work for us, whether that’s optimising activities we already enjoy or finding new, enjoyable ones, or both. The possibilities are endless! And the more you enjoy something, the more likely you are to keep it up. This helps ensure our activity levels are maintained or better yet, improved, whatever stage of life we are at, as this study has proven to be essential. Physical activity is already helping people everywhere to live longer, healthier and happier lives, and it can do the same for all of us.