Finding time for exercise in your 40s and beyond can be more challenging. Various responsibilities can get in the way, and then by the time you’ve advanced, you might be too scared to pick it back up again.
But just 20 minutes of additional exercise could make a significant difference in the likelihood you find yourself hospitalized for several health conditions.
A new study suggests that exercise just doesn’t keep you fit, trimmer, or give you a healthier heart; it might keep you out of the hospital.
The study, published in JAMA Network Open, featured 82,000 British adults between the ages of 42 and 78. They wore wrist monitors to record physical activity. Researchers then looked at the relationship between activity and the odds of being hospitalized in the coming years.
The findings suggested that if middle-aged and older people added just 20 minutes of exercise to their daily routine, they could reduce hospitalization risk for conditions like pneumonia, stroke, diabetes complications, severe urinary tract infections, and more between 4 and 23 percent.
After about seven years, more than 48,000 of the participants ended up in the hospital for various reasons. But more physically active people had lower risks when it came to some severe illnesses.
Several studies show that physical activity can improve function, lung and heart health, insulin sensitivity, and reduce inflammation.
The study’s results match up with what is typically recommended – at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week.
Moderate-intensity is things like walking, biking on level ground, or yard work. Vigorous activities are things like running, biking uphill, or swimming laps.
Adding 20 minutes to your day – whether it’s going from 0-20 minutes or 20-40 minutes can help, and the benefits appear to be dose-dependent – the more you do, the lower the risk of a trip to the hospital.
You’re never too old to exercise, so get a pair of sneakers and start moving!