No, seriously, get out. And shut the door behind you.
The evidence is piling up: one of the most significant things you can do to help fight off disease is exercise.
No matter what their age, humans need to keep moving. That’s what the latest research published in the scientific journal Aging Cell has concluded. The researchers tested the immune systems of 125 adults ranging in age from 55 to 79 who were active bicyclists (a great low-impact form of exercise), and found that in many ways their immune system seemed to show no signs of age-related decline.
In fact, in most respects their thymus gland activity and T-cells (both important indicators of immune system health) were more like those of 20-year-olds than their healthy but inactive peer group. This can profoundly impact the body’s resistance to infection, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, heart disease and even cancer.
Professor Norman Lazarus, 82, of King’s College in London, co-authored the research, and also participated in the exercise program. He said: “If exercise was a pill, everyone would be taking it. It has wide-ranging benefits for the body, the mind, for our muscles and our immune system.”
No matter what the age, starting an exercise routine that safely raises the heart rate—with a doctor’s permission and guidance—should be a top priority for anyone who wants to maintain or improve their health.
An effective workout twice or three times a week that includes resistance training and aerobic exercise, and mixes short intervals of moderate and high-effort exercise with periods of rest (“interval training”), offers the greatest benefits in the least amount of time.
While the study examined cyclists, outdoor bicycling is not for everyone. But there are other great options for anyone beginning an exercise program. Simply walking or swimming, riding a stationary bicycle or elliptical machine or taking a step aerobics class at the gym, can work wonders in making the years disappear, as well as a few pounds along the way.
So talk to your doctor, caregiver, or your friends and family, make a plan, and get out there! It could change your life.