Regular Exercise Linked to Longer Life

What’s the secret to longer life… never smoking, avoiding alcohol, a nutritious diet?

While those healthy habits certainly contribute to healthy aging, a recent study suggests walking, swimming, playing golf or other forms of regular physical exercise could be the key to living longer.

Study Results

According to Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, older adults should engage in 150 – 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise (walking, weight-lifting and other low-intensity activities) or 75-150 minutes a week of vigorous physical activity (jogging, running, swimming, biking and other high-intensity activities). The study found that adults who followed the minimum guidelines lowered their risk of death by as much as 21%. The findings also suggest that those who exercised two to four times the minimum requirement could lower their mortality risk by as much as 31%.

“Our study provides evidence to guide individuals to choose the right amount of intensity of physical activity over their lifetime to maintain their overall health,” said study author Dong Soon Lee. “Our findings support the current national physical activity guidelines and further suggest that the maximum benefits may be achieved by performing medium to high levels of either moderate or vigorous activity or a combination.”

Benefits of Regular Exercise

Sierra Goetz, co-founder and operations manager at the HomeCare Advocacy Network (HCAN) said this new study offers some additional insight into the benefits of regular exercise.

“At HCAN, we encourage our clients to be as active as possible – even those with limited mobility – because it will help them maintain their independence for as long as possible,” she said. “Staying active can make it easier for seniors to bathe, dress, get into and out of a chair and move around the house or neighborhood. It can also help reduce the risk of falls.”

Goetz added that other studies show regular, moderate physical activity can also ward off detention in older adults. 

“The bottom line… for seniors, regular physical activity is one of the most important things they can do for their health,” she said. “Whether it’s a bike ride, a brisk walk around the block or just keeping up with household chores, exercise can prevent or delay many of the health problems that cause them to become dependent on others.”

To learn more about exercise guidelines and suggestions for seniors, click here to visit the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.