Age isn't a factor when it comes to improving your health and leading a healthier lifestyle, say researchers in the US who suggest that a better diet and exercise is all that's needed to live better, even if you've had an unhealthy lifestyle in the past.
The study, led by Dr. Richard S. Rivlin, professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and attending physician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell, stated that many elderly people feel that it is too late for them to improve their health, but that is simply not true.
"I think this is an extremely important and positive message. Many elderly people feel that it is too late for them to improve their health, but that is simply not true," Rivlin said.
In the study, the researchers analysed that how the elderly could ward off risks to their health late in life by improving body composition, i.e. by lowering fat and boosting muscle mass, adhering to a low-calorie and low-fat diet, high in vegetables and fruits, with a regular exercise plan, could help the elderly stave off the diseases of aging.
"When measures to combat chronic disease are started in one's 60s and 70s, there are still definite benefits. But older adults must realize that there is no quick fix. They must change their lifestyles," Rivlin said.
The specific findings were - lowering high blood pressure or hypertension, major risk for cardiovascular disease, through improved diet and exercise had more dramatic health benefits for the elderly than for any other age group.
Older adults who adhered to a low-calorie diet with regular exercise had lower rates of cancer also benefits of weight training include increased ability to burn calories and prevention of osteoporosis.
As for the calcium and vitamin D supplements, it helped the seniors slow rates of bone loss and reduce the number of bone fractures.
"Our study reviews and presents the most up-to-date information showing the influence a healthy lifestyle may have on cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis," Rivlin said.
"I also believe that the risk for other diseases, like diabetes and pulmonary disease, can also be avoided through later intervention. But, the earlier, the better," Rivlin added.
The study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.