Even with late training.
Those who start 40, 50 or more years of regular sports are still early enough to increase their life expectancy. That suggests, anyway, a large prospective US cohort study (1): 315 059 participants (including 58,2 percent men, aged between 50 and 71 years) had been interviewed about their habits between 1995 and 1996. The analysis of the data by the end of 2011 showed that a higher degree of moderate to strenuous activities increased the probability of survival by about one third. This was true not only for lifelong people, but also for study participants who had started training between the age of 40 and 61 years.
Also gardening counts
All data were from the Diet and Health Study of the National Institutes of Health-AARP. Among other things, the participants answered questions about sports activities in different phases of the past. As "moderate to exhausting activities" in the sense of evaluation, for example, were tennis, golf, ball sports and dancing, but also running and heavy gardening. In the follow-up period, there were 71 377 deaths, including 22 219 as a result of cardiovascular disease and 16 388 due to cancer.
Cardiovascular benefits especially great
The highest risk of death had participants who had never done sports (the reference group). With at least two to seven hours of moderate to strenuous activity per week, the risk of death decreased by 29 to 36 percent. Relative to death from cardiovascular cause alone, the risk even fell by 34 to 42 percent. If late-workouts did not train regularly until the age of 40 or more, they had almost the same survival benefits as early-risers. However, to have been athletic only in youth, had hardly any protective effect in currently inactive participants: their survival advantage was only four to 14 percent compared to the never active reference group.