While popular wisdom may hold laughter as the best medicine, science indicates exercise might actually be the way to go. A study from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) shows that moderate to high intensity activity is a key part of reducing the risk of premature death in older women.
Those who worked on the study, like Professor Debra Anderson of QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, say that health professionals should be prescribing exercise programs in addition to conventional treatments for both physical and mental health.
“Studies clearly show moderate to vigorous intensity activity can have mental and physical health benefits, particularly when part of broader positive health changes,” she said in a statement.
“When once we thought that 30 minutes of mild exercise a day was enough to improve health, research is now telling us that older women should be doing at least 30-45 minutes five times a week of moderate to high intensity exercise and by that we mean exercise that leaves you huffing and puffing.”
Of course, huffing and puffing doesn’t mean you have to run or walk your way to exercise. You could also bicycle, play a game of basketball or tennis, or even mow or do heavy house cleaning. The point is, elevating your heart rate in a way that actually matters for an extended period of time on most days.
In older women, making sure to keep exercising is an important part of maintaining health. “Older adults who undertake regular physical activity also report significantly less disability, better physical function and that is regardless of their body mass,” Anderson said.
“The most active women are more likely to survive than the least physically active women.” << TWEET THIS
Exercise doesn’t just improve physical health either. Professor Anderson saw improvements in then mental well-being of people who exercised as well.
“What we are saying is that high-intensity exercise is not only good for your physical health but also your brain health,” she said.
Past studies have shown that brains are calmer and better able to respond to stressful situations as a response to regular exercise. Exercise has also been shown to improve mood and reduce anxiety.
So hop to it! Exercise does a bundle of great things for the body, and it just happens that helping you live a longer, healthier, happier life is one of them.
July 18th, 2014