Posted on Apr 01, 2016, 6 a.m.
Exercising for 30-minutes a day, 6-days a week, is linked to a 40% lower risk of death from any cause in older men.
Encouraging older men to take regular exercise may be as good for their health as getting them to stop smoking. Professor Ingar Holme, of the Department of Sports Medicine at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences (Oslo, Norway), and colleague Sigmund Alfred Anderssen studied data obtained from men taking part in the Oslo Study, which began in the 1970s. A total of 14,846 men born during 1923–1932 took part in the first study (Oslo I) in 1972–1973. Participants had their height, weight, cholesterol and blood pressure were assessed, and they were asked whether they smoked. They were also asked to respond to a validated survey (Gothenburg questionnaire) on their weekly leisure time physical activity levels. In 2000 the 5738 surviving men repeated the process (Oslo II) and were then monitored for almost 12-years to determine whether physical activity level over time was associated with a lowered risk of death from cardiovascular disease, or any cause. Results showed that during the 12-years follow-up 2154 participants died. Further analysis showed that 30-minutes of physical activity, regardless of intensity, 6-days a week was associated with a 40% lower risk of death from any cause. In addition, men who regularly engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity during their leisure time lived 5-years longer, on average, than those who were classified as sedentary. The researchers say that the impact of regular exercise in elderly men seems to be as good for health as quitting smoking. “Public health strategies in elderly men should include efforts to increase physical activity in line with efforts to reduce smoking behaviour,” they concluded.
Holme I, Anderssen SA. Increases in physical activity is as important as smoking cessation for reduction in total mortality in elderly men: 12 years of follow-up of the Oslo II study. Br J Sports Med. 2015;49:743-748.