Depression. Working up a sweat has proved to be an effective weapon against mood disorders at any age, but could be especially important for older people. A 1999 Duke University study showed that a 16-week course of aerobic exercise was as effective as antidepressants in battling depression in people over 50.
Premature death. As part of the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study funded by NIH, 2,600 men and women age 60 and older had their fitness levels assessed along with weight, body fat, and waist circumference. In studying the mortality rate of participants over a 12-year period, researchers made a striking discovery: Seniors in the least-fit group of participants had a death rate four times higher than the fittest. This research, published in 2007, only confirms what doctors have long said about exercise. If you want to live a long life, the best strategy is to get off the couch now and get moving.