Mid-Life Fitness and Diet Habits Improve Quality of Life

Several recent studies show that it is never too late to make lifestyle changes that will improve the quality of your life in your later years.

• 18,670 men and women, average age of 49 years were tested for fitness by their ability to continue exercising on a treadmill. Increasing levels of fitness were associated with far less likelihood to develop heart failure, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, chronic lung or kidney disease, Alzheimer's disease, and colon or lung cancer (Clin J Sport Med, 2013 Nov;23(6):499-500).

• 14,811 women and 45,078 men, were followed for 17 years. Those with the best performance on the maximal treadmill exercise test were far less likely to die in that period or suffer dementia (Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2012 Feb;44(2):253-9).

• Higher midlife fitness levels were associated with lower risk for suffering dementia later in life (Arch Intern Med, Sept 24, 2012;172(17):1333-40 and Ann Intern Med, 2013 Feb 5;158(3):162-8).

• The Nurses' Health Study reports that 11,000 middle-aged women (median age 59) who followed a healthful diet for 15 years were far more likely to reach age 70 free of 11 chronic diseases and with no major brain or physical disability. They define a healthful diet as one that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, polyunsaturated fatty acids and nuts, low in red and processed meat and sweetened beverages and moderate in alcohol (Annals of Internal Medicine, September 2013;159(9):584-591).

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