Attention, Older Women: Activity Can Help You Live Longer
New research published in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association, suggests that more physical activity and higher intensity workouts significantly reduce the risk of death from any cause in older women. Although light-intensity physical activity is not associated with the same decreased risk, it also may provide health benefits, according to researchers. Earlier studies have shown that physical activity lowers death risk 20 to 30 percent compared to a sedentary lifestyle.
This study, conducted between 2011 to 2015, involved measuring physical activity using a wearable device called a triaxial accelerometer, which is able to monitor activity up and down, front to back, and side to side. This device allowed researchers to closely and accurately measure physical activity. More than 17,700 women with an average age of 72 were involved in the study, and researchers deemed 16,741 of the participants compliant – they wore the accelerometer at least 10 hours per day on at least four days of the week-long study period.
Study participants were followed for an average of two-and-a-half years; during follow-up, 207 of the women died. According to researchers, regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity – brisk walking, for example – was associated with 60 to 70 percent lower risk of death at the end of the study.