Men who become active at 50 can extend their lives

By Tom Nordlie • Published: June 16th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

If you’re a middle-aged man and your idea of exercise is walking from the couch to the fridge, we have some good news:

It’s not too late to change.

According to an article in the British Medical Journal, sedentary men who became much more active at age fifty cut their risk of death in half by age sixty.

In the study, researchers analyzed data from a broader investigation that tracked more than two-thousand Swedish men for thirty-five years.

The participants answered questions about their exercise habits, alcohol and tobacco use and other health-related issues.

Their weight, height, blood pressure and other measurements were taken as well.

When the study began, about half the men reported high levels of activity in their leisure time.

This meant at least three hours spent each week on recreational or competitive sports, heavy gardening or hard physical training.

At age sixty, about ten percent of the men had increased their activity levels.

For those who went from low or medium levels to high, their death rate was cut in half, compared with peers who remained at low or medium activity levels.

Put another way, the men who dramatically upped their physical activity for ten years had the same risk of death as men who’d been working out hard all along.

That’s worth thinking about.

Because you can bet the men who got off the couch and into the gym found they didn’t just add more years to their lives.

They added life to their years.