Taking a brisk walk for just under 30 minutes a day can add up to seven years of your life, health experts have found.
The researchers found even moderate exercise could halve the risk of heart attack deaths amongst people in their 50’s and 60’s. Presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress a few days ago, walking can also delay the aging process.
The ESC gathered men and women between the ages of 30 and 60 who didn’t exercise regularly on daily fitness programs. Tracking the key markers of aging via blood samples, an overwhelming amount of subjects showed changes in the body that would repair their DNA in just six months.
“When you exercise moderately, you reduce your risk of dying from a heart attack when you’re in your 50s and 60s by 50 per cent. That’s a really big deal. Everyone should try to build in such habits to their daily routine,” said Sanjay Sharma, professor of inherited cardiac diseases in sports cardiology at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
“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.”
Even if you haven’t exercised all your life, it’s never too late to start. Researchers found people beginning to exercise in their 70’s are less likely to go on to develop atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disturbance that affects about 10 per cent of people over 80.
They also noted endurance exercise and high intensity exercise may be more efficient than just lifting weights, as they further increase telomerase activity, which in turn helps to repair DNA as it gets old.