A new study published by JAMA Network Open, a weekly journal of the American Medical Association, reveals that it’s really never too late to start exercising and doing so can dramatically reduce your chances of dying of cancer or heart problems. 

The study specifically looks at whether an association exists between patterns in leisure-time physical activity occurring during adolescence (15 to 18 years of age) or early (19 to 29 years of age), middle (35 to 39) and later (40 to 61) adulthood and all-cause or cause-specific mortality. 

The findings are clear: keep your body moving no matter what age you are, and if you haven't started there's good reason to do so right now. 

The study, which included 315,059 participants, found that maintaining physical activity from adolescence into later adulthood was associated with 29 percent to 36 percent lower risk for all-cause mortality and that increasing physical activity during mid-life after being inactive was associated with 32 percent to 35 percent lower risk for mortality.

Authors of the report summarize the findings by noting that although long-term participation in physical activity may be important to lower mortality risk, the present study provides evidence that becoming physically active later in adulthood (40 to 61 years of age) may provide comparable health benefits.

Andy Berg is Executive Editor of Athletic Business.