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February 5th, 2014

More exercise as teenagers, less visits to the doctor in old age

People getting more exercise as teens are more likely to stay fit at an old age.

Over 70s who are so lucky as to see a doctor only very rarely have something in common: most of them used to play sports at high school age. It makes no difference whether they played basketball, soccer or individual sports like ballet or tennis: in all cases, those who played sports at age 20 were healthier and more inclined to take exercise at 70, 50 years later. This was revealed by a Swiss study conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich and recently published on  BMC Public Health.

POSITIVE CORRELATION –  Swiss researchers came to this conclusion by analyzing over 700 WWII veterans who were healthy as young men (as they had to pass rigorous physical exams in order to enlist) and are still in good shape after half a century. The most surprising result of the study was finding a positive correlation between having played sports at high school age and seeing the doctor less frequently in old age. The factor that more than any other was found to predict whether a healthy young man would continue to take physical exercise 50 years later was simply to have played team or individual sports back in high school.

SPORTS AND HEALTH –  «People who are used to playing sports as teenagers tend to keep active as they age, with undeniable benefits on health – says Gianfranco Beltrami, sports physician and professor of the Sports Science department at the University of Parma. A now historical study carried out on Harvard University students reached the same conclusions by showing that people who had walked a lot throughout their life lived longer. On the other hand, those who play sports at a young age but stop and become inactive for 10-15 years may lose all benefits. Physical exercise is a medicine for the whole body, provided one chooses an activity suitable to one’s age. The perfect workout for people past their 60s and 70s should include a good combination of aerobic, strength, balance, stretching and coordination exercises».

 

Steven Cabot & Dominic Valentini

Team excellence managers for TeamArtist

 

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