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Important parameters of life: Longevity and quality: both improved by exercise

“The grapes are sour!” is a very famous saying which refers to an attitude when we know something is good but are unable to achieve it and so feign that we are not concerned about it//.

The same can be said about exercise! Everybody knows it's good; yet many people still avoid it, forgoing its potential health benefits.

Contrary to the above statement researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who studied the effects of exercise on aging point to new findings that may inspire people to get up, get out and get moving on a regular basis. The research team, led by kinesiology professor Edward McAuley, found that previously sedentary seniors who incorporated exercise into their lifestyles not only improved physical function, but experienced psychological benefits as well.

The UI research indicated positive psychosocial and cognitive outcomes -- in effect, significant quality-of-life gains -- among participants who remained physically active long after they began an initial randomized, six-month exercise trial consisting of walking and stretching/toning exercises. Results were gleaned from a battery of surveys and assessments administered at one- and five-year intervals following the initial exercise regimen. McCauley said the study -- which assessed physical activity levels, quality of life, physical self-esteem, self-efficacy and affect in a large sample (174) of adults over age 65 -- is believed to be the only one to date to examine the relationship between physical activity and quality of life over such a long time. "Self-efficacy," McAuley noted, can be defined as "the belief, or self-confidence, in one's capacity to successfully carry out a task"; while "affect" refers to reported levels of happiness or contentment.

The researchers found that participants who continued to be physically active a year after baseline responses were recorded -- through engagement in leisure, occupational or home activities, su
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