Reasons to Be Cheerful...

When you endlessly bang on about something, you run the risk of being shown to be wrong and looking a complete fool. So it's greatly relieving to find more evidence in support of what we say - exercise is good for you, and, with particular relevance for Silver Grey Sports Club, good for you in age as is all the physical training the sports demand. Here is some research uncovering some specific benefits, and not exclusively in the physical realm.



If you want to look after your brain - exercise. Dr. Mary Ann Bauman, chair of the American Stroke Association advisory committee, says that they are working hard to get people to recognise that eating right and exercising are essential components of maintaining a healthy brain into age. The Alzheimer's Association recently issued some guidelines under the banner "10 ways to love your brain" in which more than half of the ten are to do with keeping your body healthy. First of the ten was the advice to get enough exercise. Other pieces of advice include making sure that you avoid "chronic problems like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes". And the best way to do that is, as well as a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise.

 

Not only will fitness contribute to maintaining your brain health, but it will also make you less susceptible to heart failure, according to a new study by scientists at Tufts University in Boston. Heart failure is not the total collapse of the heart functioning, it is when the heart doesn't pump strongly enough to maintain a blood flow sufficient for the body's requirements, and it is a condition that is very common in older people. After following more than 4,000 people aged 65 and over for up to 22 years, the researchers found that the likelihood of heart failure amongst those who maintained a healthy lifestyle including, importantly, regular exercise, even at a modest level, was 45% lower than amongst those who didn't. So keeping a strong and healthy body will not only give you more chance of getting to a ripe old age, it will make it more worthwhile getting there.

 

Maintaining a reasonably low amount of body fat is another important aspect of successful ageing given the association of obesity with a range of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, and for women in particular given its link to increased risk of breast cancer. Canadian researchers from Alberta Health Services-Cancer Control Alberta, the American Cancer Society and Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing, Portland found that among older women, those who undertook more heart-rate-raising exercise per week lost more weight, more body fat and reduced their Body Mass Index (BMI) more than those who didn't. In fact, there was a definite correlation between the amount of weekly exercise and the amount of body fat lost, the more they exercised the more body fat they lost. The women studied, all post-menopausal, were divided into two groups one of which kept to the recommended two hours 30 minutes exercise per week and the other of which exercised for five hours per week. The particular exercise activity was at each subject's choice as long as it was an aerobic exercise which raised the heart-rate significantly for at least half of the exercise session. Those who exercised more lost more - simple.

 

A final - for now - piece of evidence comes from the Copenhagen City Heart Study. It's not new, it was published in 2013, but it followed nearly 18,000 subjects over a period of 35 years. The subjects were a random sample of healthy men and women, aged between 20 and 98. At the end of the study the researchers found that the "age-adjusted increase in survival with jogging was 6.2 years in men and 5.6 years in women. This long-term study of joggers showed that jogging was associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality and a substantial increase in survival for both men and women."

So there you have it once again, and no doubt not for the last time. The training you put in for your sport doesn't only benefit you on the pitch, on your skis, on your surfboard, it benefits you in all areas of your life, as does the sport itself. Any time you feel lacking in motivation to get in the gym or go out for a run, these are a few more reasons to be cheerful about doing it.