Saturday 3 December 2016

Want to live to 90? Exercise more

Published 24/05/2016 | 02:30

Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday
Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday

Queen Elizabeth has done it and so has TV wildlife legend David Attenborough. But how do you live to 90?

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The latest research suggests that genes play a minor role in longevity, only accounting for around 20pc.

The classic causes of ill-health are still smoking, poor diet, lack of physical exercise, poverty and deprivation, stress and arduous employment.

These risk factors lie behind all of the chronic conditions associated with old age: coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, even common cancers.

It helps to be in the professional and managerial classes - they have longer average life expectancies than those in manual occupations.

Keep a healthy weight and take physical exercise. For example, aerobic exercise has proven benefits to the cardiovascular system and is associated with reductions in the incidence of stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Recent research also indicates that a programme of moderate exercise can improve cognitive function in those who already have mild cognitive impairment.

And mental stimulation improves brain function.

Getting enough sleep, meditation or mindfulness all help.

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