Water vs. Electrolyte Drinks

As a universal rule, water is the primary source for rehydration for any athlete during a workout, event, or everyday life. However, When the revolutionary drink Gatorade was created for the Florida Gators football team, how to hydrate has become a seeming rivalry between the trusted water and the up and coming electrolyte drink. To answer the question which drink is better for an athletes body during intense spans of activity, a comparison of the overall goals and benefits of each must be examined.

Water has been used as a tool for survival since humans have existed, mostly because it offers no serious nutritional setbacks. This, along with the fact that the majority of the human body is comprised of water and uses water to maintain body temperature, transport oxygen and nutrients, and dispose of waste, serves as a serious argument that water is the most necessary natural element for humans. Water offers a no calorie, easily absorbed solution to thirstiness and dehydration, and is a perfect source of hydration for athletes enduring extremely intense, shorter workouts.

However, the invention of electrolyte drinks wasn’t just a marketing ploy to make quick cash. There are noticeable benefits to these drinks that water cannot provide. Sports drinks contain certain electrolytes and carbohydrates that need to be replaced in a long endurance workout. These drinks can replace these electrolytes and carbs that are naturally lost during a workout more effectively than water. Additionally, sports drinks are generally a more appealing taste to athletes, which in turn could lead to more consumption, which then leads to a quicker replenishing of the electrolytes and carbohydrates. Yet with these benefits, sports drinks also has some problems. The primary concern is the extra calories in every drink. Some drinks contain over 150 calories per drink, equivalent to 10 teaspoons of sugar, which can counteract the benefits gained.

However, a serious concern that must be noted is hyponatremia– the rapid loss of sodium in the blood caused by over hydration. Yes, it is possible to over drink during workouts or athletic events. This can be done by drinking too much water and too much of a sports drink.

Overall, because sports drinks cannot defend against hyponatremia and also add unnecessary calories for a normal athlete, the general rule should be to stick with water, with the possible exceptions to long, high endurance activities. Yet even then water is still a very acceptable tool for rehydration.

Sources: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/trade-sports-drinks-for-water-201207305079 and http://runnersconnect.net/coach-corner/sports-drinks-vs-water-when-its-best-to-use-each/

Gluten Free Recipes

GLUTEN FREE GRANOLA BARS

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice flour or millet flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 3/4 cup oat bran
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs molasses or agave
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Heat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a deep baking sheet.

In a medium bowl mix brown rice flour, oat bran, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cloves. In a large bowl blend sugar, brown sugar, molasses, flax, egg, pumpkin, almond milk and vanilla. Add flour mix into sugar mix, stir in oats, cranberries or cherries and chocolate chips.

Drop and spread dough evenly into the baking sheet, baking until golden, about 20 minutes. Allow bars to cool in pan. Cut bars into 16 pieces.

Yield: 16 bars

Delicious Salad Collection

BLACK BEAN AND CORN SALAD

Ingredients

  • 1 can, 14 ounces, black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, half a palm full
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce, just eyeball the amount (recommended: Tabasco)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil, eyeball it
  • Salt and pepper

 

CORN, AVOCADO, AND TOMATO SALADcorn avocado

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1 avocado, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Combine the corn, avocado, tomatoes and onion in a large glass bowl. Mix together the dressing ingredients in another bowl, pour over the salad, and gently toss to mix.

 

 

MEDITERRANEAN SALAD

Ingredients

mediteranean

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (1-pound)box Israeli couscous (or any small pasta)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

 Directions

In a medium saucepan, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the couscous and cook until toasted and lightly browned, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Carefully add the stock, and the juice of 1 lemon, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the couscous is tender, but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the couscous.

In a large bowl, toss the cooked couscous with the remaining olive oil, remaining lemon juice, zest, salt, and pepper and let cool.

Once the couscous is room temperature, add the fresh herbs, dried cranberries, and almonds. Toss to combine and serve.

 

GREEK SALAD

Ingredients

  • 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 red bell pepper, large-diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, large-diced
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced in half-rounds
  • 1/2 pound feta cheese, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
  • 1/2 cup calamata olives, pitted
  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoonDijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil

Directions

Place the cucumber, peppers, tomatoes and red onion in a large bowl.

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Still whisking, slowly add the olive oil to make an emulsion. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables. Add the feta andolives and toss lightly. Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature.

 

SPINACH, ARTICHOKE, PASTA SALAD

Ingredients

  • Coarse salt
  • 1 package fresh mushroom or chicken prosciutto or spinach filled tortellini (recommended: Contadina or Buitoni brands) available on dairy aisle in most markets
  • 1/2 pound fresh baby spinach
  • 1 (15-ounce) can baby artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
  • 1 red roasted pepper, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, cracked from skin
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice, the juice of 1 wedge
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, a couple of splashes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped or 1/2 teaspoon dried leaves, eyeball it
  • Black pepper
  • A handful sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, coarsely chopped

Directions

Bring 5 or 6 inches of water to a boil in a large pot. Salt boiling water and add pasta. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until pasta is just tender and the tortellini are floating like buoys. Drain tortellini, then cool the cooked pasta by spreading them out on a large plate or a cookie sheet in a single layer.

 

Coarsely chop baby spinach. Combine with artichoke pieces, roasted red pepper and red onion. Chop garlic, then add salt to it and mash it into a paste with the flat of your knife. Transfer garlic paste to a small bowl and add lemon zest, lemon juice and vinegar to it. Whisk in oil, thyme and pepper. Add pasta and sun-dried tomatoes to the salad. Dress salad and gently toss. Serve or refrigerate.

 

CURRIED CHICKEN SALAD

curried chicken salad

Ingredients

  • 3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise (recommended: Hellman’s)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup chutney (recommended: Major Grey’s)
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 cup medium-diced celery (2 large stalks)
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 cup whole roasted, salted cashews

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and dice the chicken into large bite-size pieces.

For the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, wine, chutney, curry powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until smooth.

Combine the chicken with enough dressing to moisten well. Add the celery, scallions, and raisins, and mix well. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Add the cashews and serve at room temperature.

 

ITALIAN CHICKEN SALAD LETTUCE WRAPS

Ingredients

  • 10 cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken (from about 3 purchased roasted whole chickens)
  • 2 cups roasted red and yellow bell peppers, drained, patted dry, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups paper-thin slices red onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup drained capers
  • 1 1/2 cups (about) Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 butter lettuce leaves (from about 3 large heads)
  • 1 (4-ounce) piece Parmesan, shaved with vegetable peeler

Directions

Toss the chicken, bell peppers, onion, parsley, almonds, and capers in a large bowl with enough vinaigrette to moisten. Season the chicken salad with salt and pepper, to taste.

Place salad into large leaves of lettuce. Drizzle more vinaigrette over the salads. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve.

Red Wine Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil

Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the machine running, gradually add the oil and blend until emulsified.

 

Physical Therapy Associates Recipe Collection

SMOOTHIE RECIPE

Master Recipe

  • ¾ cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp light coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 2 tsp honey
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp Chia seeds or flaxseed
  • 4 ice cubes

Fruit/fiber (choose 1)

  • 1 banana
  • 1 apple
  • 8 strawberries
  • 4 ounces mixed frozen berries
  • ¾ cu seedless red grapes
  • 1 tangerine or small orange

Healthy fats (choose 1)

  • ¼ avocado
  • 1 tsp natural peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • 1 tsp sunflower seed butter

Flavorings (choose none, 1, or both)

  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

A typical shake:

  • 320 calories * 15g protein * 11g fat * 7 g fiber

 

 

CAJUN SPICE CHICKEN FINGERS

Recipe from alifewithouticecream.blogspot.com

  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Pinch of onion powder

1 pkg of chicken strips (or 2 breasts sliced)

Sprinkle the chicken with spice. Grill over medium high heat until cooked to an internal temperature of 165F.

 

 

ZUCCHINI BANANA CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS

Recipe adapted from ambitiouskitchen.com

Yield: 12 large muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free baking flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 small to medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mini or regular chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix Chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes, until Chia seeds have absorbed the water and become gelatinous.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  3. Squeeze shredded zucchini of excess water with a paper towel! This is an important step.
  4. In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg; set aside.
  5. In bowl of an electric mixer, add mashed banana, oil, honey, vanilla and Chia seed mixture; mix until smooth. Add in zucchini, applesauce, and yogurt and beat again until well combined. Slowly mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix the batter. Gently fold in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.
  6. Evenly divide batter into muffin cups. The batter will reach the top of each muffin liner. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1 muffin  Calories: 156  Fat: 4.4g  Carbohydrates: 28g  Sugar: 14g  Fiber: 3.0g  Protein: 4.3g

 

KALE AND CHICKPEA SOUP WITH FETA CHEESE

Yield: 8 cups

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb kale, center ribs discarded, leaves finely chopped
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cans no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and dreained
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup crumble reduced-fat feta cheese

Directions:

  1. In a 5-6 qt pot, cook the garlic and pepper lackes in the oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until the garlic begins to color, about 3 minutes. Stir in the kale and ocok, stirring frequently, until wilted, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the broth, water, chickpeas, and black pepper. Cover and simmer until the kale is very tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the vinegar. Sprinkle each serving with ½ Tbsp feta cheese

 

KALE SALAD WITH FETA, GRAPES, AND PUMPKIN SEEDS

Makes: 4 servings

Total Time: 29 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ¾ pound kale, ribs removed and leaves cut up
  • ¼ cup hulled pumpkin seeds
  • 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ Tbsp red-wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups halved red grapes
  • 5 ounces crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

  1. Add the pumpkin seeds, red grapes and feta cheese to the kale and top with the olive oil and red wine vinegar.

 

BAKED SWEET POTATOES WITH PEANUT SAUCE

Makes: 6 servings

Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 ½ tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 ½ tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 TBSP hot water
  • 1 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400
  2. Arrange the sweet potatoes, slightly overlapping, in a 7 x 11-inch baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the orange juice, oil, honey, and 1/8 tsp of the salt. Drizzle the mixture over the sweet potatoes, cover the dish with foil, and bake until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter, giver, half of the scallions, the remaining 1/8 tsp salt, and the hot water until blended.
  5. Serve the sweet potatoes drizzled with the peanut sauce and sprinkled with the cilantro and remaining scallions.

Nutrition Information:

Per Serving:

167 calories * 3g protein * 5g fat * 4g fiber

Vegan Recipes

CHICKLESS POT PIE

Ingredients

  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 cup small diced potatoes
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup butter substitute, such as Earth Balance
  • 1/3 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2/3 cup almond or soy milk
  • Two 9-inch deep dish, unbaked pie crusts, lard free

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a medium saucepan, combine the carrots, peas, potatoes and celery. Cover with water, bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the onions in the butter substitute until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, celery seed and garlic powder. Cook for 2 minutes to get the flour taste out. Slowly stir in the broth and then add the milk. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the drained vegetables.
Roll out one of the unbaked crusts and place in a 9-inch-deep pie plate. Pour the mixture into the bottom crust. Roll out the second pie crust and place on top. Seal the edges and cut small slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 8 servings

Cook’s Note: Line a jelly-roll pan or baking sheet with foil and place the pie on that before cooking. It will keep any filling from dripping into the oven and burning

 

 

PINE NUT MARINARA BOWL

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry white quinoa, rinsed
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 ¼ Tablespoon agave nectar
  • 2 cups sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in water for 2 hours (1 cup soaking water reserved)
  • 2 large Roma or heirloom tomatoes, diced
  • ½ small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch hot pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup pine nuts

Directions:

For the quinoa: Thoroughly rinse the dry quinoa in a fine mesh colander. Combine the rinsed quinoa with 2 cups filtered water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a full boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer. Cover the pan and cook until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy and tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

For the marinara: Add the olive oil, lemon juice, agave nectar to a high-speed blender. Then add the sun-dried tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, oregano, salt and hot pepper flakes to the blender. Blend until smooth, 30 to 45 seconds. Use a tamper if necessary to support the proper blending of the sauce. If necessary, add additional tomato soaking water to thin.

Serve as is or simmer at a low temperature in a medium saucepan for 25 to 30 minutes. Spoon the marinara sauce over the cooked quinoa in a serving bowl and top with the pine nuts and reserved fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Cook’s Note: Keep the quinoa and marinara sauce stored separately. They will stay fresh for up to 5 days in sealed containers in the refrigerator.

 

 

BLACK BEAN CHICKPEA SALAD

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • Pinch ground cumin
  • 4 fresh scallions, thinly sliced on a bias
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large avocado, pitted and diced
  • One 15-ounce can (about 1 3/4 cups) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 15-ounce can (about 1 cup) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large ear sweet corn, kernels cut off
  • 1 small jalapeno, minced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • One medium jicama root, peeled and sliced into flat rounds or half moons

 

Cook’s Note: If you can’t find fresh jicama root, substitute organic corn chips or your favorite healthy cracker for scooping this delicious and

Directions:

Combine the sesame seeds, salt pepper, cumin, scallions, tomatoes, avocado, black beans, chickpeas, corn, jalapeno, lime juice and pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Serve immediately, with fresh jicama rounds.

Yield: 4-6 servings

 

 

LILY’S NUT BURGER

Ingredients

  • 7 ounces unsalted walnuts
  • 7 ounces unsalted cashews
  • 1 cup cooked long-grain brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Olive oil

Preheat theoven to 350 degrees F.

Grind the nuts in a food processor to a fine meal consistency. Add the ground nuts, rice, chili powder, oregano, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper into a mixing bowl and incorporate thoroughly. Form 8 to 10 patties with the mixture.

Sear the patties in olive oil and flip. Then put the patties into an oven-safe pan and place in the oven to brown the other side, 4 minutes.

Yield: 8-10 patties

Gluten Free Running

Gluten Free Running?

All it takes is a trip to a grocery store to notice the increasing shelf space devoted to gluten free foods. Many restaurants, both chain and local, also offer gluten-free options on their menus. Additionally, numerous books and websites profess the benefits of a gluten free diet. All of this may leave you, as a runner, wondering whether a gluten-free diet might boost your performance and health.

According to Lara Field, R.D., marathoner and dietician who works with celiac patients at the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital, there is no evidence whatsoever that gluten-free eating offers performance benefits. Cutting out gluten for the average person does not ease inflammation or speed exercise recovery, as some have theorized. In fact, a poorly planned switch to gluten-free eating can result in an inadequate intake of vitamins, complex carbohydrates and minerals. “Some people associate ‘gluten-free’ with ‘healthier,’ but a runner who isn’t careful could end up eating a lot of refined carbs and added fats, leading to weight gain.”

Going gluten-free is without a doubt the best option for runners diagnosed with celiac disease (CD) and gluten intolerance (GI). After all, these disorders cause a variety of symptoms like stomach cramping, constipation, bloating and nutrient malabsporption. Cutting out gluten prevents these symptoms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Never Too Late To Be Fit

Andersen Ross / Getty Images

A recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that being fit in your forties and fifties can significantly improve the quality of life in your seventies, eighties, and nineties.

Assessing 40 years of data gathered from 18,000 adults, the analysis finds that those who had higher fitness levels in middle age were substantially less likely to have a chronic condition between the ages of 70 and 85. Instead of living with diseases like heart disease, colon cancer and Alzheimer’s for 10 and 20 years, individuals who exercised more frequently during middle age were less likely to develop chronic illnesses until their last five years of life.

Research shows that you don’t have to undertake a strict fitness regime to get results though. Increasing your level of exercise during midlife years by 20%, decreases your chances of developing chronic diseases by 20%.

“Fitter individuals aged well with fewer chronic illnesses to impact their quality of life,” says Benjamin Willis of the Cooper Institute, first author of the study.