Exercise in Old Age as Beneficial as Giving Up Smoking

A new study in Norway suggests that old people who exercise are doing as much good for extending their lives as quitting smoking. For those who don’t smoke but want to stay healthy later in life, a Norwegian study suggests that regular exercise can have the same benefit to life expectancy as giving up smoking. Researchers published their results in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, in hopes that campaigns would use the stats to promote regular fitness regimens in older adults.  

According to a report in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a team at Norway’s Oslo University hospital  monitored the exercise routines and benefits for 5,700 older men between 68 and 77 years old. They followed them for 11 years.

First, the researchers determined that light exercise for less than an hour a week has no impact. However, six 30-minute sessions, exercising at any intensity level, reduced chances of dying by 40 percent. Although the study did not take into account how active the men were earlier in life, the data showed that the increased physical activity during older age was just as beneficial as quitting smoking. The researchers noted that even men who were 73 years old at the start of the follow up were expected to live five years longer than those men who stayed inactive.

Based on their findings, the researchers suggest that people older than 65 engage in at least 150 minutes, or three hours, of moderate exercise a week.

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Sourced from: BBC News, Elderly people who exercise 'live five years longer'