It’s never too late to start exercising, concludes a new study, which found that men who start doing physical activity when they are 50 can extend their life span by more than two years.
Swedish researchers from Uppsala University came to the conclusion after monitoring over 2,200 men from the age of 50. From analyses, the researchers found that those who increased activity levels from 50 to 60 ended up living as long as those who were already exercising regularly by middle age.
In the British Medical Journal study, volunteers were asked about their activity levels at the start of the study in the early 1970s, when they were aged 50, reports The BBC.
The men were put into three groups - high levels of activity, moderate levels and sedentary. High levels was classed as those who did at least three hours of sports or heavy gardening each week. Moderate was said to be the equivalent of several hours of walking or cycling, while people who were classed as sedentary spent most of their free time watching TV.
Their exercise habits were then reassessed at the age of 60.
The team found that those who were doing high levels of activity at the age of 50 lived 2.3 years longer than sedentary men and 1.1 years longer than those who reported medium levels of activity - once a range of factors such as weight, alcohol intake and smoking was taken into account.
But interestingly the researchers found that those who increased their activity level to high - whether they were in the moderate or low group - from the age of 50 to 60 also lived the longest.
Lead researcher Karl Michaelsson said the study showed it was essential to encourage men to become active.