New research suggests that regular exercise, even activities of short duration and low intensity, could provide life expectancy benefits for older adults, According to a report in Science Daily, the European Society of Cardiology states that these conclusions have been well evaluated in the general population, with a recommended exercise program of 30 minutes at least 5 days a week (or 150 minutes per week) seen to reduce the average risk of death by 30%. However, the researchers say that this correlation between the level of physical activity and risk of death has not been so clearly determined in older adults.
The study was based on a French cohort comprising more than 1,000 older adults who were 65 years of age. The participants were enrolled in 2001 and followed up for 13 years and their level of physical activity was closely monitored. Though about 10% of the eligible cohort died during the follow-up period, the risk of death appeared to be 57% lower among the participants whose workout levels were either equal to or higher than 150 minutes per week.
Physical activity guidelines are the same for both middle aged adults and older adults, though it is found that more than 60% of older adults are not able to achieve this level of exercise.
The researchers concluded that the risk of death in older adults decreases with higher levels of regular exercise. They suggest that doing at least 15 minutes of exercise (such as swimming, brisk walking, cycling or gymnastics) for 5 days a week can offer significant benefits for older people.