Clocking up just a few minutes at a time of any level of physical activity, including of light intensity, is linked to a lower risk of death in older men, suggests research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Scientists mention research has shown that people who regularly engage in moderate-level physical activity have a 20% to 30% lower risk of premature mortality compared with inactive adults, and the benefits seem to be greater as people age.
The researchers recruited 1,181 male participants aged 78, on average.
The seniors were all physically examined and were asked questions about their lifestyle, history of heart disease, and dietary and sleeping patterns. Individuals with a pre-existing heart condition were excluded from the study.
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The participants were clinically followed for an average period of 5 years, during which time 194 of them died.
Overall, the study found that the total amount of physical activity correlated with a lower all-cause death risk. This included low-intensity physical activity.
Specifically, for each additional 30 minutes of light exercise per day, the all-cause mortality risk decreased by 17%. Such light-intensity activities included taking the dog out for a walk or gardening. Even modest levels of physical activity are beneficial for aging men's health.
The results of the study suggest that all activities, however modest, are valuable and rewarding for the body.