In a finding that should come as a surprise to no one, a new U.S. study concluded that physically fit 50 year olds suffered less from chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and colon cancer, as they aged. The study of over 18,600 men and women, linked treadmill tests, done at the age of 50 and meant to establish cardiovascular health, to an additional 26 years of Medicare claims. Men in the lowest fifth of fitness scores in the initial evaluation experienced a rate of chronic disease of 28 percent per year. In contrast, the the rate of the top fifth was 16 percent per year. In women, the rates were 20 percent and 11 percent. Currently, national guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise per week. While the findings do not prove that exercise cuts the risk of chronic disease, it does appear that it makes a difference as we age. However, researchers added that the study did not take into account genetic and environmental factors which may affect the chronic disease rates.