Study Finds Older Adults Who Walk for 30 Minutes a Day Cut Risk of Death

Senior couple walking through a park. (© Monkey Business – stock.adobe.com)

Two new studies are adding to the growing consensus in the medical community that staying active is perhaps the best way for older adults to live longer and stay happy and healthy well into their golden years. Best of all, no one is telling grandma or grandpa to hit the bench press; simple, leisurely activities like walking are enough to promote strong health in old age.

First of all, researchers noted that older adults were 67% less likely to die of any cause if they were at least moderately physically active for a minimum of 150 minutes each week. Additionally, a second study found that older women (average age of 79) were 38% less likely to die from a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, etc if they were consistently walking 2,100 to 4,500 steps each day.

“Finding a way to physically move more in an activity that suits your capabilities and is pleasurable is extremely important for all people, and especially for older people who may have risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Physical activities such as brisk walking can help manage high blood pressure and high cholesterol, improve glucose control among many benefits,” explains Barry A. Franklin, a professor of internal medicine at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in Rochester, Michigan, in a release by the American Heart Association.

Regarding the first study’s findings, the average age of the participants was 69. Researchers noted that just 30 minutes of light-intensity activity (household chores, walking) was associated with a 20% lower risk of dying from any cause. On the other hand, though, just 30-minutes of sedentary behavior was associated with a 32% higher chance of dying from any cause.

“Promoting light-intensity physical activity and reducing sedentary time may be a more practical alternative among older adults,” says Joowon Lee, Ph.D., a researcher at Boston University.

This study included 1,262 people, with 54% being female. Each person was asked to wear an activity tracking device for at least 10 hours a day, at a minimum of four days a week from 2011-2014. All participants were caucasian, so it’s unclear if these results are accurate regarding other races.

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SOURCE: Study Finds, John Anderer

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