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MAY

Study: Exercise, Live Longer

Filed Under: Exercise and Fitness,General Wellness & Wellbeing at 5:00 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
ElderlyA new study shows that regular physical activity in old age is beneficial for your heart health and ultimately can help you live longer. Researchers compared the impact of exercising as providing the same powerful effect on life expectancy as giving up smoking.

Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the study conducted by Oslo University Hospital compared data from 5,700 elderly men in Norway and the results showed that those who had three hours of exercise a week lived around five years longer than the sedentary. The authors of the study are now calling for campaigns to encourage fitness in older people.

Additionally, the study found both light and vigorous exercise extended life expectancy. Official advice in the UK recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week for people over 65 years of age. The report said: “Even when men were 73 years of age on average at start of follow-up, active persons had five years longer expected lifetime than the sedentary.” It added that physical activity was as “beneficial as smoking cessation” at reducing deaths. “Public health strategies in elderly men should include efforts to increase physical activity in line with efforts to reduce smoking behavior.”

The results of this interesting study can be used as an alert for the lack of activity among the elderly around the world. The British Heart Foundation has published a report warning people are getting too little exercise, showing that 44% of adults in the UK are doing no moderate exercise, well below ideal numbers and a rate higher than many European countries. Alarming rates were also reported in other European countries with 69% in Portugal, 55% in Poland, and 46% in France. In the US, these numbers are even more alarming with around the 70%-75% of elderly doing little to none physical activity.

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