We’ve all heard about the health benefits of exercise to help fight aging – but what about when we’ve already, well, aged? Can exercise still be beneficial, and if so, how much is effective? Yes, and not that much, according to a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Researchers tracked activity in nearly 1,700 elderly men (ages 71-92 years) by having them wear accelerometers, which track motion and movement, for one week. After following the men for six years, researchers found that men who moved more – a mere 30 minutes of additional light activity per day – were 17 percent less likely to die than men who moved less. The reverse held true as well: Men who were more sedentary on a daily basis (again, only 30 minutes of sedentary time compared to their more active counterparts) were 17 percent more likely to die during the study period.
What’s more, it didn’t seem to matter whether the additional 30 minutes of daily activity was achieved all at once or broken up throughout the day (10 minutes or less, multiple times during the day). In other words, if you’re a senior who doesn’t have the time (or ability) to exercise for 30 minutes at a time, don’t worry about it!
Talk to your doctor for more information about the health benefits of exercise and how (especially if you’re a senior) to design and exercise/activity program that’s right for you.