Posted on Mar 04, 2018, 1 a.m.
British Journal of Sports Medicine has published a study suggesting that older man may live longer lowering the risk of death by participating in any level of physical activity.
Low intensity exercises are better suited to older men who may have a variety of barriers preventing them from participating in more intense activities. At least 150 minutes a week of moderate to intense physical activities in 10 minute sessions are recommended by current guidelines, however this may be difficult for older adults to achieve.
To determine if other levels and patterns of activity could be associated with lower death risks scientists assessed data involving 7735 participants ranging in age from 40-59 years old from 24 different towns from 1978-1980. In 2010-2012 the 3137 surviving participants were giving follow up medical check-ups which included a physical exam and a questionnaire to complete regarding lifestyle, sleep patterns, and previous experience if any of heart disease. Participants were given accelerometers to wear to track the intensity and volume of physical activity during waking hours for 7 days. Participant’s health conditions were tracked until June 2016 or death whichever came first.
In total about 50% of the men agreed to wear the accelerometer. Excluding participants who hadn’t worn the device enough, and those with pre-existing heart disease, final analysis was based on 1181 men with the average age of 78 years old. 194 of the men died during the 5 year study period.
Findings of the study showed that the total volume of physical activity starting from light intensity and upwards was linked to lower risk of death from any cause. Participants who participated in an additional 30 minutes a day had a decreased risk of death by 17% with low intensity activities, the association continued even after considering influential factors such as sedentary time. The equivalent reduction in death risk for every additional 30 minutes of moderate to intense activity a day was 33%, light intensity activities were also sufficient enough to prove it may prolong life as well. Sporadic bouts of activity were associated with a decreased risk of 41% with bouts lasting 10 or more minutes being associated with 42% decreases. Sporadic bouts were 66% more easier to attain by the men who achieved the weekly total of moderate to vigorous activity, but only 16% achieved their weekly total in bouts of 10 or more minutes. There wasn’t any evidence to suggest that cutting down on sitting time was linked to lowered rates.
This was only an observational study so no absolutes can be drawn on cause and effect. Participants who wore the accelerometer were younger and possessed healthier lifestyles than of those who didn’t which may account for some distorted results. Results were not clear on if it would be equally applicable to women younger ages.
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