The one healthy habit all retirees need to adopt

Yesterday, I delivered yet another argument against the modern notion of being “fat but fit.” In case you missed it, I discussed research showing that obesity nearly triples your risk of a heart attack, even with higher physical activity levels.

But what I didn’t mention is the fact that I still recommend daily exercise to everyone — regardless of size or age. And the study I want to share today perfectly illustrates why.

Better heart health in minutes a day

This study looked at more than 1,600 British subjects near between 60 and 64 years old. They wore fitness monitors, which measured heart rate and movement, for five days. This data revealed overall physical activity levels — from light activities like walking and gardening, to vigorous exercise like cycling or tennis.

Researchers also looked at a selection of key heart disease markers — including inflammatory signals like C-reactive protein and hormones like leptin and adiponectin.

Among their findings:

  • Every extra ten minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise drove down leptin levels significantly in both men and women. (This is important, because while leptin is a beneficial hormone, metabolic dysfunction and obesity are often caused by leptin resistance.)
  • Every extra ten minutes of sedentary time increased inflammation markers.
  • Greater time spent in low-intensity activity — and less time spent sedentary — drove down inflammation (regardless of the amount of high-intensity exercise subjects engaged in, if any).
  • Subjects’ current state of cardiorespiratory fitness (the measure of how well your body transports oxygen to your muscles during exercise and how well your muscles absorb it) didn’t affect the benefits they got from staying active.

The conclusion? Physical activity improves blood vessel function and protects your heart. While sitting on the couch actively sets you up for disease.

This may seem like a rather ho-hum takeaway. But when you consider the subjects’ narrow age bracket, it’s not hard to see how important this message is.

How you choose to spend your post-retirement days is important. And if you don’t stay moving, regardless of your fitness level, it could ultimately end up killing you.

I don’t know a single person who can’t manage a walk after dinner every night. If you can do more than that, great. But even if it’s all you can do, remember that something is always better than nothing.

If you’d like to read more about the benefits (and various types) of exercise, it’s one of my favorite topics to talk about in my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives. Subscribers have a full access to my archives. To learn more, or sign up today, click here.