Chalk drawing -  qualityEven if you start later in life, regular exercise adds length and quality to your days among the living. If you needed another reason to start or stick with an exercise program, this is it. According to the American Heart Association, one hour of regular exercise adds about two hours to your life. The kind of exercise matters less than getting your heart rate up. For best results choose a few activities you enjoy. You will be most likely to stick with something that is fun. If you are worried you don’t have enough time to take advantage of the benefits exercise offers, think again. Shorter periods of exercise throughout the day are just as effective for improving health and extending life. So, no more excuses. No matter how busy your schedule you have time to add exercise for life.

Exercise reduces chronic illness

Chronic illness can reduce life expectancy. Health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease often lead to premature death.  Exercise offers a reliable way to combat chronic illness thus reducing the likelihood of premature death.

Exercise reduces the risk of cancer

According to National Cancer Institute physical activity helps to maintain healthy bones and reduce the risk of certain cancers. You don’t even have to be a super athlete to live longer with exercise. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services researchers found that even people who engaged in only about half the level of recommended exercise extended their lives by almost two years.

Benefits hold regardless of weight

Studies have established an association between obesity and chronic illness. Exercise has been shown to mitigate the effects of weight on chronic illness and premature death. Researchers found that inactive people who are above healthy weight do not live as long as active, healthy weight people. The good news is people who are above healthy weight can extend their lives with regular exercise even if they remain overweight.

Exercise extends quality of life, too

Regular exercise doesn’t just help you live longer, it helps you live better. Physical activity improves mood, promotes confidence and well-being, reduces stress and depression and even boosts memory. Just two and a half hours of moderate exercise each week is all you need to get these benefits. That’s about 30 minutes five times a week. Take a walk, ride a bike, go for a swim, dance or enjoy a game of ball or tennis. Working up a sweat today may just mean sweeter sunset days later.