New study reveals the strongest contributor to living to old age 19



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With more and more Australians living until 90, many of us will have longer lives than our parents and this trend will not be changing anytime soon. The 2015 Intergenerational Report projects that the life expectancy at birth in 2055 will be over 95 years old for both men and women compared to 91 years today.

But it’s not enough to just live longer. The goal is to approach the century mark living a healthy life rather than be in a long-term care facility and have little quality of life. So how can we reach the century mark living a full and active life? The answer may surprise you.

Contrary to popular belief, to increase your odds of living to 90 and beyond, isn’t about having great genes from your parents. Instead, it’s a matter of your lifestyle choices. It may seem simple – be good to your body and your body will reward you but there’s more to it than that. The answers can’t be found by speaking with centenarian’s who reveal their secret; it takes a long detailed look at the lifestyles of today and tomorrow’s seniors.

A group of researchers in Sweden have tracked the health of men and women age 75 to 90, noting who survived and who died and though the data set is small, trends are emerging and should be acknowledged. More importantly, the strongest predictor of longevity is fitness. In fact, being active actually offsets certain health consequences like chronic diseases including diabetes, elevated cholesterol, arthritis and high blood pressure. We’ve always been instructed to live an active life but this research does indicate more …

Another interesting fact from the study was that the over-75 group’s risk factors differed from the 50-year olds. For instance, those who live to over 75 have avoided certain diseases that are commonly associated with early death like heart disease or certain cancers. That’s not to say this cohort has avoided all health issues associated with age but it’s thought that regular exercise may be one of the contributing factors to outliving many of their peers. Instead, now a whole new set of risk factors like falls and dementia have taken their place.

So what other predictors lead to life at 90 and beyond? Well, during exercise these individuals also had a healthy blood pressure, which allowed for a quick return to their resting heart rate, strong lung and cardiac function, good cholesterol markers, and they also had no previous heart attack history.

The study did not outline how much exercise needs to be done, nor was there any discussion about diet or other common stress-related issues. Regardless, the takeaway is still that if you’re not already exercising, it’s time to start. It does not mean you have to continue the same exercise regime as you age but when you retirement, it is important to keep active. Exercise helps to maintain balance, strength and stamina; workouts done today will pay off tomorrow and beyond!


Tell us, what do you do to keep active? Will you try to add more fitness into your daily routine?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. 65 and 70…..both still part time working……doing own reno to stop the house falling down!! yoga weekly together and a monthly acupuncture n massage to keep aches away……eat reasonably but not fanatical….love the odd drink too

    1 REPLY
    • Mike here-well done Heather & partner/husband or significant other, may one ask what is your line of work?

  2. 66 and 69, still work part time, we eat well, exercise, keep busy and our brains active. We garden, and do most of the work around the home. We also care for an intellectually disable daughter. We love being together and Remain positive.

    I am a personal carer …. My clients are 87, 89, 90, 91, 92 all live at home and still do a lot for themselves. They amaze me.
    My oldest client at 106 has now finally gone into care, she is switched on mentally just has lost her sight. She keeps the staff on her toes

  3. I dont have a secret to youthful ageing. I think if I do its my close friend, Denise. We have been friends for almost fifty years. She is determined not to age at all!
    Well she is certainly doing it with style. I am now more aware than I have ever been of making the most of what I have going for me.
    Of keeping up my style, grooming and taking care of myself generally.

  4. Still run 5 times a week as coming up to 70+. Tues, Thurs & Sun do 22k; Wed do only bout 6k or 8k & Sat only 10k both days with Southern Running Group (SA) -so, I’m not 70+; gee, 1944??? Was ages ago I was 19; but not long ago was 44. So reckon I’m 46 -er, no & sorry folks I’m probably 48! …. Well, it’s in the mind-set isn’t it!! 🙂 Cheers to all -& ALL the best.

  5. I have done some form of exercise most of my life. These days I still surf when there’s a wave and failing that I go to the gym 6 days a week and do a split of cardio and resistance training. This article certainly backs up all the research I have been doing for my health and fitness blog lately. Every few weeks I seem to find a new study somewhere like this one which has been underway since last July and is being undertaken by Griffith University in Brisbane headed “Resistance Training Improves Older Bones”. Currently they are recruiting 100 healthy women aged over 60. It is a really interesting read for anyone interested in improving their strength and bone density – here’s the link:

  6. I have always been physical and work in the disability industry specialising in challenging behaviour…..partner a retired teacher librarian and working 13 yrs now assembling equipment furniture n bikes for chain stores….thank u for ure question

  7. I really don’t want to leave to that age, I should be able to decide when MY life becomes untenable !

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