Regular Exercise in Old Age Adds 5 Years to Life Expectancy
Researchers are encouraging the elderly to stay fit, following a study which has demonstrated that regular exercise in old age can significantly increase life expectancy.
The study, conducted by Oslo University Hospital in Norway, involved an analysis of 5,700 elderly men. A comparison of the more active with the more sedentary showed that those who did three hours of exercise a week typically lived five years longer than those who did none. The researchers say that the positive impact of exercise in old age is as significant as the impact of quitting smoking.
The report says: “Even when men were 73 years of age on average at the start of follow-up, active persons had five years longer expected lifetime than the sedentary.”
It advises: “Public health strategies in elderly men should include efforts to increase physical activity in line with efforts to reduce smoking behaviour.”
Official UK guidelines state that those over the age of 65 should do around 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
However, research by the British Heart Foundation has highlighted that far too many are falling short of the quota. In fact, their analysis showed that 44% of people in the UK do no moderate exercise at all.
“Regular physical activity, whatever your age, is beneficial for your heart health and ultimately can help you live longer,” says Julie Ward of the BHF. “However, our latest statistics show that nearly half of people in the UK do no moderate exercise whatsoever – a rate higher than many European countries. Our message is that every ten minutes counts, and that making simple, more active changes to your daily routine can set you on a path to improved heart health.”