They say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but could walking every day add as many as 7 years to your life? One study from Europe says so.
Read more: Is $2,500 enough to make you exercise?
25 minutes of brisk walking every day could add up to 7 years
But what about actually lengthening your life? A study from the Saarland University in Germany found that just 25 minutes of brisk walking or slow jogging every day could improve your longevity — by as much as 7 years.
‘Exercise buys you three to seven additional years of life. It is an anti-depressant, it improves cognitive function and there is now evidence that it may retard the onset of dementia,’ said Sanjay Sharma, professor of inherited cardiac diseases in sports cardiology at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in south London to The Guardian.
‘We may never avoid becoming completely old, but we may delay the time we become old,’ he said.
Study participants between the ages 30 and 60 who otherwise did not exercise were put on an exercise regime and monitored for six months. The findings? Participants’ blood showed DNA repair at the cellular level.
Aerobic exercise and strength training had positive effects on aging, but other kinds of exercise, such as endurance exercise and high intensity exercise may be more efficient. This kind of exercise was found to increase telomerase activity, which helps to repair DNA. And not only was exercise found to increase longevity — it was also linkned to looking younger and being happier too!
Even if you start late, it can still make a big difference
The great thing about working out is it’s never too late to start.
Researchers found that in this study, those who started exercising at 70 years old were less likely to develop atrial fibrillation, ‘a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications,’ according to the American Heart Association.
‘The more active you are, and it doesn’t matter when you start, the more benefit you are going to have,’ said Christi Deaton from the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine.
This study is further evidence of the importance of exercise for health, well-being and longevity.