How difficult can it be? That is what you ask yourself after seeing the results of a 2008 study in which it was shown that men who exercise regularly and are not overweight live longer.
There are probably a few avid smokers with a penchant for fatty foods and beers who neither have nor will have the desire to live long. On the other hand, any man (in this case) who wants to live to be 90 (or older) merely has to follow this simple recipe: Don't smoke, exercise regularly, avoid diabetes, and maintain normal blood pressure. According to scientists, this should dramatically increase a man's chances of growing really old.
The specific recommendations originate from an observational study of 2,357 men who participated in the comprehensive American study known as "Physicians' Health Study". At baseline, all male participants had an average age of 72 years. Their health status was evaluated and for the next 20 years every participant underwent at least one annual medical exam. 970 of the men celebrated their 90th birthday - and some grew even older.
With this material at hand, it was time for the scientists to look into which men had the best conditions for growing old. Based on their observations, the researchers concluded that a healthy 70-year old non-smoking person with normal blood pressure and normal weight, who exercised up to four times a week, had a 54% increased chance of reaching an age of at least 90 years.
It is also worth noting that a person who exercises and refrains from smoking not only lives longer but also has the advantage of being able to enjoy an existence with less disease and improved quality of life.
Inactive people die sooner
In comparison, a sedentary lifestyle was seen to reduce the chance of living to the age of 90 years by a staggering 44%. Hypertension reduced the chance by 36%, obesity by 26%, and smoking by 22%. People who failed on three of the accounts only had a 14% chance of living to the age of 90, and those who failed on all accounts by being sedentary, overweight, smoking, hypertensive individuals, only had a four per cent chance of being able to stick 90 candles in their birthday cake.
Genes play a role
Another thing the researchers noted was that genes accounted for about 25% of the variations in lifespan, which means that 75% of the variation is determined by the lifestyle we choose.
As the team of researchers wrote in the study: "Smoking, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension are believed to lower the expected lifespan by somewhere between one and five years, whereas increased physical activity can increase your lifespan by up to five years." In fact, the results from this study show that a man can expect to live up to 10 years longer simply by staying in good shape.
Source: Arch Intern Med..