This Is the Best Reason Ever to Exercise
Fitness experts are fond of saying: Use it or lose it. Turns out, they’re right. People who don’t exercise are more likely to suffer serious physical and psychological setbacks, Science Daily reports of a new study from The Ohio State University. But the good news is that the opposite is also true: People who exercise get a cognitive, psychological, and physical boost.
The study: A group of 28 older adults who had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung disease that kills some 120,000 people every year in the United States, completed a 10-week, monitored exercise rehabilitation program. The first five weeks of the 10-week training session consisted of daily aerobic workouts, strength training, and stretching exercises. During the second five week period, participants continued the exercises at least three days a week. Afterwards, they were each given an individualized home exercise program to follow on their own. The researchers contacted the participants again after one year to see if they had stuck with their exercise programs and to give them the same physical, psychological, and cognitive tests that they had taken at the beginning and end of the initial 10-week exercise program.
The results: After the initial 10 weeks of exercise, all the participants achieved increased cognitive, psychological, and physical function. Eleven people or 39 percent continued exercising at home, while the remainder either exercised only sporadically or not at all. Those who continued to exercise maintained the cognitive, psychological, and physical benefits, while those who did not exercise lost their gains in nearly every mental and physical characteristic that the researchers measured.
“It’s solid evidence that across-the-board declines occur when people stop exercising,” said lead researcher and psychology professor Charles Emery. “No matter what, you’ve got to keep up the physical activity.” The study appears in a recent issue of the journal Health Psychology.
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