Physical Activity Associated With Healthier Aging: Links Between Exercise and Cognitive Function, Bone Density and Overall Health

old-man-stretchingPhysical activity appears to be associated with a reduced risk or slower progression of several age-related conditions as well as improvements in overall health in older age, according to a commentary and four articles published in the January 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Exercise has previously been linked to beneficial effects on arthritis, falls and fractures, heart disease, lung disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity, write Jeff Williamson, M.D., M.H.S., and Marco Pahor, M.D., of University of Florida, Gainesville, in a commentary. All of these conditions threaten older adults’ ability to function independently and handle tasks of daily living.

“Regular physical activity has also been associated with greater longevity as well as reduced risk of physical disability and dependence, the most important health outcome, even more than death, for most older people,” they continue. Four new studies published in this issue of the Archives — outlined below — “move the scientific enterprise in this area further along the path toward the goal of understanding the full range of important aging-related outcomes for which exercise has a clinically relevant impact.”

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