Lifestyle & Belief

Midlife fitness cuts chronic disease in old age


First lady Michelle Obama runs while working out with local students on the South Lawn of the White House on May 25, 2010 in Washington, DC. The first lady kicked off a series of South Lawn summer fitness activities for kids.


Mark Wilson

A new study has found that being fit in midlife goes a long way to reducing chronic disease in old age.

The findings in the Archives of Internal Medicine published this week show those "who had higher fitness levels in their 30s, 40s and 50s were substantially less likely to have a chronic condition between the ages of 70 and 85."

“We’ve known for years that exercise is good for you, but what’s not been clear is to what extent the health benefits persist across a lifespan,” said study author Dr. Jarrett Berry from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

CNN reported the study surveyed 18,670 patients from a database at the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study who were 65 or older as of January 1, 1999.

Berry and his team examined "all kinds of chronic diseases" not just heart disease or cancer.

What they found, according to Scientific American, was that physical activities seemed to reduce or even eliminate heart disease and failure.

It also reduced diabetes, kidney disease and Alzheimer's disease.