Posted on Feb 01, 2010, 6 a.m.
Harvard School of Public Health (US) researchers find that among women who survive to ages 70-plus, those who regularly participated in physical activity during middle age appear more likely to be in better overall health.
In that physical activity is associated with reduced risks of chronic diseases and premature death, Qi Sun, from Harvard School of Public Health (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues explored whether physical activity is also associated with improved overall health among those who survive to older ages. Analyzing data from 13,535 participants in the Nurses' Health Study, whereby the women reported their physical activity levels in 1986 (average age of 60 years), the team found that those women who survived to age 70 or older as of 1995 to 2001 were engaged in higher levels of physical activity at the beginning of the study and were less likely to have chronic diseases, heart surgery or any physical, cognitive or mental impairments. The researchers urge that: “These data provide evidence that higher levels of midlife physical activity are associated with exceptional health status among women who survive to older ages and corroborate the potential role of physical activity in improving overall health.”
Qi Sun; Mary K. Townsend; Olivia I. Okereke; Oscar H. Franco; Frank B. Hu; Francine Grodstein. “Physical Activity at Midlife in Relation to Successful Survival in Women at Age 70 Years or Older.” Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(2):194-201.