A recent study shows that even a tiny bit of light exercise is enough to increase the life expectancy of older men.
Government guidelines recommended that adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise each week. But, only about half of adults actually meet those recommendations, becoming even more difficult for older adults.
The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, now says there’s a way to tweak these guidelines, so they’re more accessible for older people.
In the report, researchers examined about 1,180 men — average age, 78 — who wore devices that monitored their movement for seven days. This went on for five years. The results found that the overall volume of exercise, rather than how long or how hard one exercises, was the key factor to longevity.
Long periods of exercise were unnecessary to achieve positive results. Sporadic bouts of exercise throughout the day, even if each bout was under 10 minutes, had similar benefits to lifespan as exercising more than 10 minutes at a time.
This fits men’s schedules better, too; 66% of the men in the study were able to meet this weekly quota.
For every 30 minutes of light exercise per day was linked to 17% lower risk of early death, according to the study. Amping the workouts to moderate or vigorous yielded even better results, increasing to 33% reduction in death risk for every 30 minutes of exercise.
If more studies support their findings, even a few minutes of light exercise a day can significantly lower the risk of early death in men. The researchers concluded that the findings “could refine physical activity guidelines and make them more achievable for older adults with low activity levels: stressing the benefits of all activities, however modest, from light intensity upwards.”
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