As residents of our thriving community, we are truly fortunate to live in a place that allows us to be active. We can go for a swim or visit a nearby gym. We can bike and play tennis, squash or golf at our many city parks. We can stroll through the Denver Botanic Gardens or do some gardening of our own. Without a doubt, Denver and the nearby mountains are a hiker’s paradise.
There’s plenty of information out there on the benefits of exercise. Most of us know that physical activity is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. As an added benefit, staying active promotes mental and emotional wellbeing by increasing focus and mental clarity, improving our state of relaxation, and even staving off dementia.
Two interesting studies have recently shown that exercise is about as close as we can get to the fountain of youth. The University of Birmingham in London compared a group of older adults who engaged in physical activity most of their lives to a group of sedentary younger adults. Amazingly, the active older adults had the immune systems and muscle mass of the younger group. The study also showed that cholesterol and fat percentage did not increase with aging in those who continued to be physically active. A second study done by the University of Cambridge found that individuals who started exercising two and a half hours every week, even when starting later in life, reduced their risk for early death.