Extend Your Life with This Mantra

Medically reviewed in January 2021

If you want to live longer, remember this mantra: Better late than never.

Even if you've never exercised before, giving up your couch potato ways in midlife can help you reach a whole bunch more birthdays. In fact, it could slash your mortality rate in half. (That's a benefit equivalent to quitting smoking!)

How Exercise Adds Up
How many years you add through everyday activity depends on what you do. A study suggested that an average 50-year-old man could expect to earn two more birthday candles by becoming moderately active and doing things like walking or riding a bike for fun. He can reach another two candles by becoming highly active, doing things like heavy gardening, high-intensity recreational sports or strenuous physical training at the gym for at least 3 hours per week.

Going the Distance
After several years—10 to be exact—researchers believe that the benefits of living a highly active lifestyle are maximized in people who were previously inactive. They enjoy the same reduced mortality rates as people who were already highly active in midlife and continued to be so. Need help getting started? Try these tips:

Take the first steps to growing younger and healthier with the RealAge Test.

More On

100 to 100: Drink to Your Health

video

100 to 100: Drink to Your Health
Don't be so quick to give up your vices! A daily drink (or two) could add years to your life.
The Often Overlooked First Sign of Alzheimer’s

article

The Often Overlooked First Sign of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is a terrifying prospect for many people. It begins slowly, sometimes silently, but it eventually takes a toll. People in the fina...
5 Secrets to Steal From These Popular Diets

slideshow

5 Secrets to Steal From These Popular Diets
Here are the best weight loss tips from the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet, and more.
How Kids Can Keep You Young

video

How Kids Can Keep You Young
Research shows that being around young people can actually keep you feeling and acting young! Robin Miller, M.D. talks in this video about how volunte...
Start your journey to 100

video

Start your journey to 100