A new study has found that women in their 60’s and 70’s, who exercise regularly and refrain from drinking and smoking, have a 17% less chance of developing disabling conditions like heart disease and arthritis.
More than 2,500 older women were surveyed as part of the British Women’s Heart and Health Study in order to identify any linkages between general lifestyle, and the development of disabling conditions. At the beginning of the survey the women were questioned about their general lifestyle habits, including exercise frequency, general diet, consumption of alcohol, and whether or not they smoked cigarettes. Seven years later the women were asked to report on any development of these health conditions.
According to the findings, women who never exercised were twice as likely to develop arthritis or difficulty walking, and were also more likely to develop a heart condition. Those who smoked cigarettes were twice as likely to develop a heart condition than those that did not.
While the study hasn’t necessarily proved anything that wasn’t already suspected, it is yet another example of how lifestyle habits can, and will affect your health in the long run. Even though it does not address the question as to whether healthy habits need to be practiced lifelong, or whether benefits can be derived in the short term, I personally believe it is both.
It is never too late to get started on a healthy lifestyle regimen. While long-term practices will indeed be beneficial, a change at any point will allow you to experience improvements. Exercise, diet, and healthy habits are key to a variety of health benefits, both mentally and physically.
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