World War II veteran Barbara June Gage (she wrote her story in “Flight Nurse: From Pearl to Tokyo” under her married name, Gruning) just turned 100. The nurses at her care facility in Lakewood, New Jersey — as reported by a major news network — say the key to Gage’s longevity is her rigorous daily workout: leg lifts with weights, stretches and more. That doesn’t surprise us.

We’re always advocating more exercise (and a Mediterranean diet) and pointing out that no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to start! A study published in the European Heart Journal reconfirms it. Researchers looked at a group of participants, average age of 67 (47% men, 53% women), and found that if you’re doing less and less moderate and vigorous exercise when you’re 60 and older, you’re at 27% increased risk for heart disease and stroke compared with your peers who get more exercise. In contrast, they found that if you increase your exercise habits, you reduce your risk for cardiovascular woes by 11%. That’s a 37% swing!

So, get into the swing of things. The researchers defined moderate exercise as 30+ minutes a day of brisk walking, dancing or gardening, and vigorous exercise as 20+ minutes a day of running, cycling or aerobics. Check with your doc(s) to create an exercise routine that makes you healthier. If you join a workout class for older adults, research shows that it not only promotes longevity, it increases quality of life too.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

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