Exercise Can Cut All Sorts of Health Risks for Seniors. Here’s How to Get Going.

“Movement is medicine,” says Dr. Edward Laskowski, a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation.


Imagine a medicine that reduced the death rate of breast cancer and risk of recurrent breast cancer by 50%, lowered the risks of colon cancer and type 2 diabetes by two-thirds, and those of heart disease, hypertension and Alzheimer’s disease by 40%. On top of that it can be as effective as antidepressants or cognitive behavioral therapy in countering depression.

That medicine exists, says Dr. Edward Laskowski of the Mayo Clinic: It’s called exercise.

“Movement is medicine,” says Dr. Laskowski, a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation who says the health benefits he cites have been proven repeatedly by high-quality research.

You don’t need to run marathons to derive the benefits of exercise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults can get the benefits with at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week plus at least two sessions of weight training. 

You can meet the CDC guidelines by going to the gym twice a week and going on 30-minute walks on the other five days, says Mary Edwards, director of fitness at the Cooper Fitness Center in Dallas.

Barron’s brings retirement planning and advice to you in a weekly wrap-up of our articles about preparing for life after work.