Older people can reduce death risk by daily, brisk 15-minute walk
Fifteen minutes of exercise a day may be a reasonable target for people over 60 who do not feel able to reach current recommended targets for the amount of time they spend doing physical activity, experts said.
If older people engage in a low level of exercise their risk of death reduces 22% compared with those who are inactive, according to a study presented at the EuroPRevent 2016 conference.
But those who reach the recommended weekly target of 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity have a 28% lower risk of death, said Dr David Hupin, a physician at the University Hospital of Saint-Etienne in France.
"Age is not an excuse to do no exercise," said Dr Hupin.
"It is well established that regular physical activity has a better overall effect on health than any medical treatment. But less than half of older adults achieve the recommended minimum of 150 minutes moderate intensity or 75 minutes vigorous intensity exercise each week."
The authors studied data from studies examining more than 120,000 people over the age of 60. Compared with those who were inactive, older adults with low, medium and high activity levels had a 22%, 28% and 35% lower risk of death, respectively.
Dr Hupin said: "These studies show that the more physical activity older adults do, the greater the health benefit. The biggest jump in benefit was achieved at the low level of exercise, with the medium and high levels bringing smaller increments of benefit.
"We found that the low level of activity, which is half the recommended amount, was associated with a 22% reduced risk of death in older adults compared with those who were inactive. This level of activity equates to a 15-minute brisk walk each day." ■
What to read next
More inside POST