1 You’ll keep your body decades younger
If 40 is the new 20, then 75 may be the new 40. In a study from the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers compared a group of lifelong exercisers in their 70s to two groups: non-exercisers in their 70s and a group of young exercisers, roughly in their 20s. The lifelong exercisers had cardiovascular health similar to that of 40- or 45-year-olds as well as a lower risk of early death and higher quality of life. The older exercisers also had muscles with aerobic qualities comparable to the young exercisers, so in other words, full preservation. Bottom line? “Exercise wins,” says Scott Trappe, PhD, study co-author from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. “If you’re exercising, keep it going, and if you haven’t started yet, it’s never too late.”
2 You’ll control high blood pressure
One in three American adults has high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but if you’re taking medications, take heart: Exercise may be just as effective as medications in lowering blood pressure in people who already have high systolic blood pressure, according to a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Various modes of exercise appear to reduce systolic blood pressure, the top number in a blood pressure reading. That includes endurance activities like running, playing soccer and doing high-intensity interval training; dynamic resistance training like lifting weight; isometric resistance training like planks; and a combination of endurance and dynamic resistance exercises. But don’t take this as permission to quit your meds: You still need to consult your doctor about the best treatment plan, researchers say.
3 You could shake off depression
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