OVER-40s who take up exercise slash their risk of dying early by nearly a quarter, research has found.
And those who do more than the NHS’s recommended 150 minutes a week reduce their risk by almost half.
Cambridge University, which studied 15,000 Brits aged 40 to 79, said the results prove it is never too late to start exercising — or to boost existing fitness levels.
Lead researcher Soren Brage added: “The simple message is, the more exercise, the better.”
His team looked at the participants’ exercise levels over 21 years.
The scientists found the fittest people — who were already exceeding the 150-minute recommendation — experienced the greatest boost to their longevity by raising their activity levels.
On average they were 42 per cent less likely to die during the study.
And couch potatoes who started meeting the recommended activity levels made themselves 24 per cent less likely to die during the 21 years.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, also found that all older adults saw a “substantial” boost to life expectancy by being more active — no matter what their initial fitness.
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The study concluded: “These results are encouraging not least for middle-aged and older adults with cardiovascular disease and cancer, who can still gain substantial longevity benefits by becoming more active.”
Huw Edwards, from health body UKactive, said: “This provides further evidence against the outdated idea that people should do less as they age or while managing a long-term illness.
“The time has come for a total rethink of how we approach our later years.”
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