Posts Tagged ‘American Journal of Preventitive Medicine’

Regular Walking May Help Older Adults Live Longer

December 28, 2017

The title of this post is identical to the title of an article by Rachael Rettner in the Health Section of the 24 October 2017 issue of the Washington Post.

A new study finds that regular walking may help older adults live longer, even if they don’t walk enough to meet exercise guidelines. Adults up to age 64 should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity per week. But only half of those adults, and 42% of people ages 65 to 74, meet these recommendations.

This new study was based on data from nearly 140,000 US adults in their 60s, 70s and 80s, and followed them for 13 years. The respondents were asked how much time they spent exercising per week and which types of activity they engaged in.

The results showed that those who reported walking regularly but not enough to meet the exercise guidelines were less likely to die during the study period than those who didn’t get any physical activity. The researchers found that those who didn’t get any exercise were 26% more likely to die during the study period than were those who walked less than two hours per week. The findings held even after the researchers took into account factors that could affect the link, such as smoking, obesity, chronic conditions (including diabetes), and time spent sitting.

The researchers wrote in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, “…doctors should encourage patients to walk, even if less than the recommended amount, especially as they age, for health and longevity. Walking has been described as the ‘perfect exercise’ because it is a simple action that is free, convenient, and does not require any special equipment or training, and can be done at any age.”

Not surprisingly the study also found that walking for a length of time that meets or exceeds physical activity guidelines was linked to even more benefits. Those who walked 2.5 to 5 hours a week were 20% less likely to die of any cause, 30% less likely to die of respiratory disease and 9 % less likely to die of cancer during the study period, compared with those who walked for less than two hours a week.

The researchers concluded, “This study shows that engaging in walking is associated with increased longevity and has the potential to improve the public’s health significantly.

And HM reminds you that it also fosters healthy memories regardless of age.