Great news for older adults: You don’t have to beat yourself up at the gym or jog for hours to gain huge health benefits.
A major new study found that simply walking 15 minutes per weekday cuts your chances of dying by 22%.1
French researchers set out to find out how much exercise seniors need to get longevity benefits. The study followed more than 123,000 people for up to 12 years.2 All the subjects were 60-65 years old.
Other activities as effective as walking were gardening, tennis, swimming, and casual biking.
Dr. David Hupin is a physician with University Hospital of Saint-Etienne, France. He was the lead author on the study. Dr. Hupin noted that most experts recommend at least a half hour a day of exercise for seniors.3
Therefore, many older people don’t exercise at all because they feel they won’t achieve enough to get any benefit, he said.
But just 15 minutes a day is “a reasonable target for older adults,” Dr. Hupin said. He also points out there are diminishing returns. Beyond the 15-minute mark, exercise brought “smaller increments of benefit,” he said.4
Inactivity Can Age You 20 Years in Just a Few Weeks
Another recent study reveals just how important physical activity is to healthy aging. University of Texas Southwestern Medical School researchers took five healthy 20-year-old men and had them rest in bed.
After three weeks, scientists found the young men had physiological characteristics of men twice their age. Being couch potatoes caused them to have faster resting heart rates, higher blood pressure, and lower heart pumping power. What’s more, their muscles were weaker and they added body fat.5
Afterward, scientists put them on an eight-week exercise program. This reversed all the harmful effects of being sedentary.
The bottom line? Get active. Even if it isn’t much.
Don’t worry about doing long hours of jogging or other grueling exercise… Just get out the door and walk for a few minutes. Your body will thank you.
In Good Health,
Executive Director, INH Health Watch