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Physical Activity Reduces Mortality in Older Adults

Posted: Thursday, September 07, 2006

New research suggests that "free-living" activity has a beneficial effect that reduces the risk of mortality among older adults who are generally healthy.

Keeping active as an older adult doesn't necessarily mean taking part in a formal exercise program.

A group of researchers studied energy expenditure in 302 high-functioning older adults 70–82 years over a 2-week period. Participants were followed for an average 6.15 years while investigators kept track of all-cause mortality.

When participants were categorized into tertiles based on activity level, researchers found that those who were in the highest tertile of activity had a significantly lower risk of mortality than those in the lowest activity tertile—less than half the risk. Self-reported high-intensity activities such as exercise, walking, and volunteering did not vary substantially between the groups. But those people who reported higher levels of free-living activity were more likely to work for pay and climb stairs.

"Simply expending energy through any activity may influence survival in older adults," researchers conclude.



Source: Diabetes In Control: JAMA 296:171–179, 2006[Abstract/Free Full Text]: Manini TM, Everhart JE, Patel KV, et al.: Daily activity energy expenditure and mortality among older adults.

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