By Dr. Brian McDonoughSponsored By Independence Blue Cross

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you want to avoid joint problems as you get older, it might make sense to exercise more when you’re younger.

This is according to a 12 year study published in the journal “Arthritis Care and Research.”

There is a key point: the exercise should not be aggressive.

It appears that the best form of exercise when you are middle-aged is exercise that is moderate in nature.

Those who report exercise that was intense, for example, running three-to-five miles per day on concrete surfaces, or participation in high contact sports, ran into difficulties when they were older due to the results of excessive demands of the joints.

But those who exercised in a more moderate manner, such as walking on soft surfaces to increase cardiovascular functionality, or swimming, found that they not only had fewer joint problems when they were older, they also maintain balance and strength for a longer period of time.

The lesson from all of this is that reasonable amounts of exercise are helpful and can protect you in the long run.