People have been telling their children and grandchildren that they should eat a healthy diet and exercise for years. However, these practices may not just be worthwhile in their early years. A new study has shown that the benefits from a healthy lifestyle can last into retirement years. The study has been published in theÂ Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
The study was led byÂ Emily Nicklett, a professor of social work at the University of Michigan. Nicklett and her team studied over 700 women between the ages of 70 and 79. None of the women were in assisted living programs and all of them were involved in two separate disability studies. Researchers took blood samples of the participants to measure theirÂ carotenoids. Health professionals believe thatÂ carotenoid levels are an accurate indicator of the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables people are consuming.
Researchers also tracked the level of physical activity of all participants.
[box type=”important”]The study found that women in their 70s can extend their lifespan by following a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Nicklett admits that this study may seem like common knowledge. However, it is still important research because it reinforces some of the principles many people neglect to follow as they age.[/box]
The study concluded that moderate changes in lifestyle can have a significant effect on their life expectancy. This study is particularly important as the baby boomer generation continues to age. The over 65 demographic is the fastest growing group in the country. Experts want to conduct more research to identify what practices older citizens can follow to live a happier, healthier life.
Nicklett and her colleagues tracked the participants over the course of five years. During that time, over 10% of the subjects passed away. The study found that women who were physically active had about a 71% higher survival rate than those who didn’t exercise regularly. Additionally, the women with the highest level ofÂ carotenoids had nearly a 50% lower chance of dying.
The most compelling data reflected on the likelihood of survival when combining a healthy diet and a proper fitness regimen. Women who were more likely to incorporate both into their lifestyle were 8 times more likely to survive than women who scored lowest on both.
According toÂ Lona Sandon, a professor of nutrition at the University of Texas, the study sheds more light on the importance of eating healthily and exercising regularly. Senior women will learn to appreciate the fact that healthy lifestyles should play an important role throughout their lives.