HealthDay News — Just 15 minutes of exercise a day may lower older adults’ risk of early death by one-fifth, according to a study presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s EuroPRevent 2016, held from June 14 to 15 in Sophia Antipolis, France.
The research included 123,428 people, aged 60 and older. The study’s mean follow-up time was 10 years. Compared to those who were inactive, those with low levels of activity were 22% less likely to die during the study period, the investigators found. In addition, for people with medium and high levels of physical activity, the risk of dying during the study was reduced by 28% and 35%, respectively, compared to people who weren’t active at all.
The study wasn’t designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship, but the results “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,” David Hupin, MD, of the University Hospital of Saint-Etienne in France, said in a news release from the European Society of Cardiology.
Hupin added that people shouldn’t make drastic changes to the amount of activity in their lives. Instead, they should progressively increase the amount of activity they’re doing. “Fifteen minutes a day could be a reasonable target for older adults. Small increases in physical activity may enable some older adults to incorporate more moderate activity and get closer to the recommended 150 minutes per week,” he said.