My grandfather turned 94 two weeks ago. He’s been a wealth of influence in my life, but there’s one thing he’s regularly told me:

“If you sit down, you’ll never stand up.”

He’s always been moving. He’s been the most active man I’ve ever known and his long life has been his reward. A new groundbreaking study just published in JAMA suggests that:

Regular exercise, including walking, significantly reduces the chance that a frail older person will become physically disabled, according to one of the largest and longest-running studies of its kind to date.

While everyone knows that exercise is a good idea, whatever your age, the hard, scientific evidence about its benefits in the old and infirm has been surprisingly limited.

“For the first time, we have directly shown that exercise can effectively lessen or prevent the development of physical disability in a population of extremely vulnerable elderly people,” said Dr. Marco Pahor, the director of the Institute on Aging at the University of Florida in Gainesville and the lead author of the study.

Countless epidemiological studies have found a strong correlation between physical activity in advanced age and a longer, healthier life. But such studies can’t prove that exercise improves older people’s health, only that healthy older people exercise.

My grandfather has always been ahead of the curve. It’s nice to see science proving his theories. It’s also interesting to note that the studies around such a logical concept are “surprisingly limited.” Actually, it’s not that surprising. In the medical world, if you can’t profit off the findings of a study, there probably isn’t good, well-funded, objective science around it. The question is interesting…who stands to profit off exercise and would they still publish the results if the findings found there was no effect?