Posted on Aug 23, 2019, 12 p.m.
Studies suggest that higher levels of physical activity at any intensity level are linked to a lower risk of early death in middle aged and older people, a recent study published in the medical journal BMJ has added to the growing body of evidence.
It has been well established that any type of sedentary behavior is not good for health; being sedentary for 9.5 hours or more a day, excluding sleep, has been associated with an increased risk of death.
Researchers from the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences analyzed how physical activity and sedentary time were linked with the risk of an early death. 36,383 adults aged 40+ with an average age of 62 were involved in this study, who were tracked on average 5.8 years. Accelerometers were used to track participant volume and intensity of activity. According to the team, results suggest that the risk of death for participants was 5 times higher for those who were inactive when compared to those who were the most active. It was noted that the findings may not apply to other population and younger people.
The National Institute for Health guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity every week. This can be done anywhere, without the need to purchase special equipment or a gym membership. Simply take the stairs more often or walk rather than drive. Leisure activities such as swimming are an excellent option, as is just going for a walk around the block or stroll through a park. Tennis is a bit more challenging and can be really fun.
Whatever your choice of activity try to stretch before and after to reduce the risk of injury, and try to have fun. Studies show that if you participate in an activity that you enjoy the odds are higher that you will stick with it.
In short if you are middle aged and sedentary you are 5 times more likely to have an early death, so get up and get moving to avoid a premature death and enjoy the benefits that physical activity can help provide, which includes living longer and healthier: “sit less, move more and more often.”
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.