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Never too late

To get active, that is.

I have always told my audiences in the talks I used to give that I am certain that someone somewhere is gonna do a study one day that shows that a 98-year-old who starts to be more active is likely to outlive his 98-year-old twin who stays pretty much recumbent.

Which is sort of what this recent study presented at ESC Congress 2021 has done albeit not as dramatically as I would have liked.

It’s a meta-analysis that included 33,576 patients with coronary heart disease from 9 different studies, and the results are pretty stark: If a heart disease patient takes up exercise, he/she dramatically raises their chances to outlive their twin who doesn’t start exercising, even when that exercise start-up begins late in life, or as the researchers put it, “Compared to patients who were inactive over time, the risk of all-cause death was 50% lower in those who were active over time, 45% lower in those who were inactive but became active”.

Interestingly, too, heart disease patients who had been active at any point in their lives also outlived those who remained inactive: “20% lower risk of dying in those who had been active but became inactive.”

In other words, no matter when you decide to sit less, do more, it’s always gonna benefit you.