Why you should get (or stay) fit after 50
When it comes to investing for the future, most people think in financial terms of money. However, physical exercise can also improve your financial future.
Even if you haven't been physically active in the past, you can always start changing your physical future.
Exercise helps you live longer — and better
Even moderate physical activity can help you live longer, according to recent research. In fact, many of the conditions that people blame on old age are often the result of a sedentary lifestyle rather than an inevitable decline.
Exercise can strengthen your bones, reducing the risk of falls, and control joint swelling associated with arthritis. It also can help manage blood pressure, diabetes and depression and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Other studies show that exercise may fend off diseases such as Alzheimer's and help manage symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
Never too late to start
Research shows that even modest exercise and changes in diet can bring big benefits regardless of the age you start. You don't have to become a marathoner to whip yourself into shape as you approach retirement, but you do need to get moving.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a combination of aerobic exercise — brisk walking, jogging or swimming, for example — and strength training.
While aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular fitness, strength training can build muscle mass and bone density.
Both come in handy when you're trying to pick up your grandchild or even simply a bag of groceries.