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Exercise can "alter the course of aging"

Many baby boomers know about the health benefits of regular exercise, and as more and more research proves that there are mental as well as physical bonuses to staying active, they're hitting the gym more than ever before. In fact, Del Webb research has shown that more than half of this age group is more active than they were 15 years ago. 

So, it should come as no surprise that Marie Bernard, the deputy director of the National Institute of Aging, recently told USA Today that exercise "is the closest thing we have to the fountain of youth." She explained that it can not only improve life quality, fitness can also extend your lifespan.

Better yet, regular physical activity can actually improve the immune system. Gregg Warshaw, the chair of the division of geriatrics at the University of Cincinnati, says that people who work out recover from illnesses faster than those who lead a more sedentary lifestyle.

In fact, a new study is being conducted to see if staying fit can actually change aging itself. Eight universities are coming together to conduct a research program known as Lifestudy, which will evaluate 1,600 participants for an average of 2.7 years and evaluate independence and mobility.

Some, such as Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, already have strong opinions about the benefits of physical activity. He conducted exercise experiments on mice and told The New York Times that working out can completely alter "the course of aging."

He and his colleagues noted that everything from muscle deterioration to brain shrinkage was much slower in mice that regularly ran. Even things like the luster and thickness of their fur was completely different.

These findings emphasize the continuing importance of exercise. While it can sometimes be difficult to find fitness classes and facilities, Del Webb retirement communities offer a centralized place to work out in a fun and friendly atmosphere. 

For example, at Del Webb River Pointe in Manchester, New Jersey, there are sports courts, a state-of-the-art fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, and classes that can teach you ways to stay fit that are both fun and social, such as Pilates yoga or Fit and Firm sessions taught by experienced instructors.  

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