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Darwin Redux: Still The Survival Of The Fittest

September 1, 2009
Research presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona by Dr Peter Kokkinos and colleagues from the Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in Washington and Palo Alto, CA gave further muscle to the value of exercise and its potential to cut death rates in half in elderly men. After studying more than 3,000 men between the ages of 70 and 92 for an average of 6 years, they compared the death rates of those who were sedentary to those at three different levels of fitness. They found that for every two minutes of exercise the mortality rate dropped by 10 percent. For every 100 men who died in the very low fitness group, 74 died in the next group up, 54 in the moderately fit group and only 46 in the high fit category. "The overall message is that although aging and death are inevitable, the rate for both can be modulated by simply maintaining a physically active lifestyle at any age,” said Dr. Kikkinos. "Although I cannot guarantee that regular exercise will add years to your life, I am quite certain that it will add life to your years. It is important nevertheless to emphasize moderation." If you are new to exercise, he recommends starting slowly and gradually.