New research suggests that only thirty minutes of physical activity six days each week is linked with 40 percent lower risk of death for elderly men. The study claims even light activity is very beneficial.
The study, which was published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, also discovered that increasing exercise levels seemed to be as good for health as quitting smoking.
The results, researchers wrote, point to the fact that “public health strategies in elderly men should include efforts to increase physical activity in line with efforts to reduce smoking behavior.”
Scientists from Norway started with a survey of 15,000 men who were born between 1923 and 1932. As part of the Oslo Study from 1972, the men’s weight, height, blood pressure, cholesterol and smoking status were collected. They also recorded their weekly leisure time and physical activity levels, which were split into more categories: watching TV/reading (sedentary); walking or cycling, including to and from work (light); formal exercise or heavy gardening for at least 4 hours a week (moderate); and hard training or competitive sports a few times a week (vigorous).
Nearly three decades later, approximately 5,700 of the surviving men took the tests again. They were analyzed for almost 12 more years to observe if physical activity levels over a long period of time could be connected to a lowered risk of death from heart disease or any other cause, and to observe how how the body reacts to smoking cessation.
During the monitoring schedule, 2,154 of the men who had taken part in both studies died. The findings revealed that while less than an hour of light exercise each week had too little effect on risk of death, more than an hour was linked with a 32 to 56 percent lower risk.
The more time spent taking part in vigorous physical activity, the lower the risk appeared to be. Men who regularly participate to moderate to physical activity enjoyed an average of five years more of life than participants who were labeled as sedentary.
When looking at all the results, scientists determined that half an hour of physical activity, no matter if it is light, moderate, or vigorous, carried out six days a week, was connected with a 40 percent reduction in risk of death from any cause.
Scientists acknowledged that the study did not determine cause and effect, and that just the healthiest men from the first portion of the study took part in the second round, which may have affected the numbers.
Image Source: Web MD