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Exercise Comes of Age as Medicine for Older Adults

From the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Digest Series 10, Number 3: "The way in which we develop and age, as well as the resilience with which we ward off disease over the lifespan, is strongly linked to our behavior: our dietary intake, physical activity patterns, unsafe pursuits, and internal and external exposure to noxious substances. Genetic factors clearly play an important role in disease accumulation and expression; however, modifications of gene expression (epigenetics) due to intrauterine influences, subsequent lifestyle choices, and other environmental exposures and socio-cultural influences are also capable of substantially changing heritable risk profiles via alterations of gene expression and disease accumulation. Thus, at least partial escape from a genetic predisposition to conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, stroke, coronary artery disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, obesity, dementia, depression, osteoporosis, arthritis, and sarcopenia, for example, is possible with the adoption and maintenance of a healthful lifestyle from intrauterine to nonagenarian stages of the life course."

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