Source: Aged Care Insite 10 September 2012
Being active and engaging in a healthy lifestyle into your 70s can make a huge difference to your life expectancy, a Swedish study suggests.
Academics at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute analysed the lifestyles of 1810 people aged over 75. The findings, published on the British Medical Journal website, said men with the healthiest lifestyles lived six years longer, women had five extra years.
Experts said it was never too late to start looking after your health. Being sedentary, overweight, a smoker or heavy drinker is bad for health and shortens life expectancy. The researchers said they did not know how big the effect would be after 75, so they followed a group of people for 18 years.
They showed that smokers died a year earlier, but people who quit in middle age were almost as long-lived as those who had never smoked. Swimming, walking and gymnastics increased life expectancy by about two years. People with a rich social circle lived a year and a half longer than those without.
Combining figures for healthy, low-risk, lifestyles showed men could extend their lives by six years, and women by five years, by adopting the most healthy options. Even after the age of 85, low-risk lifestyles prolonged life by four years. more