Recent analysis of data from a long-term study into the effects of an active lifestyle show those who lead active lifestyles were around 10 years younger in terms of motor skills. The results of the study were published by the Sports Institute at the German Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).
This study focused on examining the health status of middle-aged people who regularly practice sports, and others who don’t.
Prof. Klaus Bös, who led the study with the scientist Alexander Woll said: “Our data shows that a 50-year-old sportsperson is as fit as the 40-year-old inactive individual,” according to the German News Agency (DPA).
He said data also showed that health problems which usually increase with age are remarkably rare among those practice sports.
The study found that those who exercise less than two and a half hours a week are four times more likely to suffer from diabetes. The study kicked off in 1992 in the city of Schönborn, Germany, and involved over 500 women and men, aged between 35 and 80 years old.
Bös said the physical activity among the study participants increased over the years, but 50% of them did not reach the two-and-half-hours exercise per week recommended by the WHO. However, sports alone is not enough to keep the body healthy as people age.
Older people often eat little or consume foods that lack nutrients, because they prefer easy-to-prepare meals, making it difficult for them to fight infections, said an expert.
"Without a balanced diet, infections such as flu can affect an individual many times," the expert added.
Family members of infected people should not be surprised that their loved ones need extra help. They should pay more attention to their sick relatives, and make sure they eat nutritious foods. They should also encourage older people to exercise since sports enhances the body resistance.
Experts also recommend sauna sessions that stimulate metabolism and blood circulation and help individuals sleep better. It is also strongly recommended that people above 60 years old receive the annual flu vaccine.