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Exercise Increases Life Expectancy: December 7, 2012

Young and old, in weakness and in strength, fitness specialist Dean Mantion puts his clients through the paces.

“There are people that have never exercised before and they come in when they’re in retirement and have time and we get them exercising,” says Dean Mantion, trainer with Lee Memorial Health System.

Now a study is showing hitting the gym could add years to their life. The National Institutes of Health followed more than a half-million Americans ages 40 and up for 10 years, and discovered moderate exercise extended life expectancy an average of 3.4 years.

There was something for everyone in this report. People who want to walk or do moderate exercise can get the benefit with 2 1/2 hours a week. Those who want to push themselves can step up the pace and get the same result in half the time.

“If you are very sedentary right now, what you can do is start with a nice walking program.  And if you’re sweating and you’re breathing hard and it’s hard to talk to the person next to you, then you’re working at a level that’s an appropriate level for your body.  So that would be anybody.  Anybody could do that,” says Heather Parker, certified fitness instructor with Lee Memorial Health System.

The study found anyone, even people who are overweight, can gain the added years. But the younger someone starts exercising the better. That puts Alyssa Caverley on the path to a long life.

“For me, it mostly entails getting at least getting 30 minutes in of anything. So I don’t necessarily go to the gym, I don’t do classes. But I try and walk or hike and even run,” says Caverley.

It’s hoped these findings will encourage inactive people to get up and get moving.

“You do not have to be marathon runner,” says Mantion.