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Exercise has health benefits for people of all ages

Exercise has health benefits for people of all ages
27th November 2013

Pensioners can stave off poor health and even dementia by taking up regular exercise, a new study claims.

Researchers at University College London followed 3,500 healthy people aged between 60 and 65 to see how being active impacted on their lives.

The study, which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that those which exercised at least three times each week remained healthier than their peers over the following eight years.

On top of lowering their risk of stroke, heart disease, Alzheimer's and diabetes, the healthier group were also found to perform day-to-day tasks such as dressing and washing more easily.

Dr Mark Hamer, the study's lead investigator, said no matter how old a person is, taking up exercise provides numerous health benefits.

"The take-home message really is to keep moving when you are elderly," he told the BBC.

"It's [a] cliche, but it's a case of use it or lose it. You do lose the benefits if you don't remain active."

He added that getting exercise does not mean having to hit the treadmills and exercise bikes at a gym. For many people walking around the shops or gardening is more than sufficient.

Doireann Maddock from the British Heart Foundation said that "every ten minutes counts" so jumping off a bus a few stops earlier than normal or taking a brisk stroll at lunchtime will help greatly.

According to the Department of Health, all adults should look to do a minimum of 150 hours of physical activity each week.

Last month, researchers at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts found that people who go for regular walks are less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's.

The team believe walking helps to release a chemical known as FNDC5 which when released into the bloodstream can help to keep neurons in the brain active.

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