According to a longitudinal study performed at the Cooper Center, people with high fitness levels during middle age are at decreased risk for developing chronic health conditions later in life.
The study tracked 18,670 healthy middle-aged people over a median period of 26 years. At its conclusion, researchers found that those in the highest fitness category had the lowest incidences of eight chronic health conditions, including kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, colon cancer, lung cancer, heart failure, heart disease, stroke and COPD.
“Compared with participants with lower midlife fitness, those with higher midlife fitness appeared to spend a greater proportion of their final five years of life with a lower burden of chronic conditions,” the researchers wrote.
While researchers and peer reviewers are confident that the study creates a definitive link between good health in middle age and better health in old age, the role of genetics is a wild card that cannot be overlooked. Genetics plays a role in longevity and helps certain people avoid certain diseases and health conditions. Additional U.S.-based studies probing possible links between high levels of midlife fitness and improved health and quality of life in old age are in various stages of planning.
Source: Clinical Advisor