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It’s Never Too Late to Exercise: New Study Reveals Humans Evolved to Sustain High Degree of Physical Activity As the Body Ages

Exercise knows no age. That is what a new research set to be published on December 14 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found. Although many believed that they should be resting more as they get older, the study says that the opposite is true because human bodies have evolved to maintain a high degree of physical activity as they age.

old man lifting weights

Old man lifting weights, while trainer stand beside. (PHOTO: Shutterstock)

Humans Should Exercise More as They Age

The researchers of the study wrote that fossils have disproven previous claims that human ancestors have short lifespans as it was common for people to live well into their 70s. Lifestyle online magazine Bicycling reported that researchers found exercise may have enabled their longer life, benefiting them with enhanced blood flow, reduce fat, and efficient repair of DNA.


In what they call the “grandfather hypothesis,” researchers suggest that evolution has preferred humans who engaged in lifelong physical activity because it prevents chronic disease. This links physical activity to longevity.

Physical activities recommended even in seniors are cycling, strength training, hiking, and swimming. Previous studies have also highlighted that moving more in general as one gets older can give people a stronger cardiovascular and respiratory system, and improve their immune function.

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Lack of Exercise Increase Disease Risk

According to Healthline, exercise or engaging in regular physical activity is important to everyone. Even those with chronic conditions or disabled people were advised to exercise at least three times a week to reduce their risk of cardiovascular problems.

Dr. Thomas F. Boyden from SHMG Cardiovascular Medicine in Grand Rapids, Michigan said that activity is key in stimulating the heart and lungs no matter what age. It increases both heart and breathing rates to reduce chronic diseases, such as stroke and heart attack, and also reduces cancer risk and premature death.

People with diabetes, high blood pressure, or elevated cholesterol levels are found to have reduced their risk by up to 7% with regular exercise, but those inactive people are said to have increased their risk of cardiovascular problems by 27%.

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