Posted on Sep 22, 2016, 6 a.m.
A small amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity weekly may reduce the risks of death by as much as 22%, among older men and women.
While the health and longevity benefits of 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity re well established, many of us fail to reach this target. David Hupin, from Jean Monnet University (France), and colleagues completed a meta-analysis of 9 published studies, involving a total of 122,417 participants, that assessed risk of death according to weekly physical activity for those ages 60-plus. Physical activity was measured in Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) minutes – an expression of the amount of energy (calories) expended per minute of physical activity: moderate intensity activity ranges between 3 and 5.9 MET minutes while vigorous intensity activity is classified as 6 or more. Pooled analysis of the data showed that activity less than 500 weekly MET minutes of physical activity associated with a 22% lowered risk of death compared with those who were inactive. As expected, the more physical activity an individual engaged in, the greater the health benefit: a 28% lower risk of death was found for those fulfilling the recommended weekly tally of MET minutes, and over 1000 MET minutes associated with a 35% lower risk. Importantly, the data showed that a weekly tally of 250 MET minutes – corresponding to 75 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (15 minutes a day), associated with health benefits – of which the first 15 minutes of physical activity seemed to have the greatest impact. The study authors submit that: “A dose of [moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity] below current recommendations reduced mortality by 22% in older adults. A further increase in physical activity dose improved these benefits in a linear fashion. Older adults should be encouraged to include even low doses of [moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity] in their daily lives.”
Hupin D, Roche F, Gremeaux V, Chatard JC, Oriol M, Gaspoz JM, Barthélémy JC, Edouard P. “Even a low-dose of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity reduces mortality by 22% in adults aged ≥60 years: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Br J Sports Med. 2015 Aug 3. pii: bjsports-2014-094306.