Leading a healthy lifestyle even if later in life, could lower the risk of developing heart disease and premature death within years of changing habits.
Researchers of Medical University, South Carolina, tried to find out if late-starters could actually gain the rewards of healthy habits like eating fruits and vegetables, quitting smoking, controlling weight gain, and walking thirty minutes a day.
Once the tracking process began, nearly sixteen thousand people in the age group of 45 to 64 years, only about 8.5 percent were following all the four healthy habits mentioned above. Among the other adults, 8.4 percent began practicing the four healthy habits within six years after the beginning of studies.
The middle-aged who began including five or more vegetables and fruits every day, exercising for atleast 2.5 hours a week, keeping tab on their weight gain, and gave up smoking, decreased their risk of heart diseases by thirty five percent and the risk of premature death by fourty percent within four years after they started. Their rate of heart attacks and death rates matched with those who had been following the healthy lifestyle habits all through their lives.
The results indicate that picking up all four habits eventually leads to a sharp decline in heart disease risk, and death from any cause. However, to gain health benefits, it took all four habits to be incorporated, as including only three healthy lifestyle habits, resulted only in a modest decrease in overall risk of death, and in no significant decrease in heart disease. However, the results do not necessarily mean that one can wait until they turn 40 to 50 to adopt healthy lifestyle habits.