I have stumbled across several references to a recently published study about the effect of regular activity in the elderly. What I think is really important is that they looked at “activity”, including routine household activities, not just at what is routinely thought of as “exercise”. So many people just don’t stop and think how beneficial “activity” is. In this group of individuals “activity” significantly lowered the likelihood of dying.
I think it is much easier to encourage “activity” than “exercise”. “Exercise has much more “baggage”. When people think “exercise” they often think they need to go somewhere dedicated to exercise (e.g. the Y or gym) or use some special equipment. These beliefs make it easier to talk yourself out of participating, because it is just too much work. On the other hand, many will exercise just because you have to go someplace special and use equipment.
Nonetheless if you “sell” the benefits of “activity”, I think people are much more likely to participate. Then once they are just doing “activity” you can introduce the concept of making it a bit more “work/exercise” (e.g. parking a bit farther from the store door) and before long they are doing “exercise”. Those that only able to do “activity”, on the other hand, are still reaping benefits.
It is all about living a bit longer and making that time a bit more health filled, now there a study to back it up. Stay active and stay alive.