Nothing will help reduce the effects of aging more than regular exercise.
While pharmaceuticals and medical practices are advancing continuously and general life expectancies are trending upwards, there are still a number of problems associated with aging. Chief among them is muscle deterioration and chronic disease. And according to Drs. Stephen Harridge and Norman Lazarus, the biggest thing holding us back from making the most out of those extra years is a lack of physical activity.
"Our modern sedentary lifestyles have simply speeded up our underlying age-related decline," Harridge and Lazarus wrote for BBC. "This contributes to the onset of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer."
However, regular exercise of between two and six hours a week can reduce your chances of dying from any condition by up to 35 percent as you progress through your 50s and 60s, they report. And that's not to mention that older folks who are physically active tend to have better mental health and mental agility than their sedentary counterparts.
You don't need to be a competitive athlete to garner the advantages of regular exercise either, say Harridge and Lazarus.
"Incorporating small regular bouts of physical activity—brisk walking or ballroom dancing—into your routine is the key."
"Physical activity is one of the cornerstones of a healthy life. Even if you can't be a competitive athlete, starting to regularly exercise in your 20s and 30s is likely to pay off later on. And if you're past that point, just gently becoming active will do a huge amount of good."
If the good you'll be doing for your own longevity isn't enough for you to start working out a little bit more, staying fit is also a huge benefit to society, say Harridge and Lazarus. In England, health costs for the average 85 year old are almost five times that of a typical 30 year old. These societal costs can be greatly reduced by keeping a healthy and active lifestyle.
And with spring just starting to break in most parts of the US there couldn't be a better time to double-down on your exercise regime.