Washington DC: It's time to start working out as a new study claims that even a little weekly physical activity curbs the risk of death among those above 60 years of age.
In the study, the researchers searched databases for studies which assessed risk of death according to weekly physical activity for those aged 60 and above. Physical activity was measured in Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) minutes, which express the amount of energy (calories) expended per minute of physical activity.
The study involved a total of 1,22, 417 participants, who were monitored for an average of around 10 years.
Pooled analysis of the data showed that clocking up less than 500 weekly MET minutes of physical activity was still associated with a 22 percent lowered risk of death compared with those who were inactive.
The more physical activity an individual engaged in, the greater the health benefit, reaching a 28 percent lower risk of death for those fulfilling the recommended weekly tally of MET minutes, while more than 1000 MET minutes was associated with a 35 percent lower risk.
The greatest benefit seemed to be among those who went from doing nothing or only a minimal amount of physical activity to doing more.
The data showed that a weekly tally of 250 MET minutes, which corresponds to 75 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity-or 15 minutes a day-was associated with health benefits, added to which the first 15 minutes of physical activity seemed to have the greatest impact.
The researchers suggested that this could be a reasonable target dose.
The researchers concluded that the target for physical activity in the current recommendations might be too high for older adults and may discourage some of them. The fact that any effort will be worthwhile may help convince those 60 percent of participants over 60 years of age, who do not practice any regular physical activity, to become active.
The study is published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.