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Physical Activity and Lower Risk of Early Death

Once again, research results finding that some daily physical activity (here 30 minutes 6 days a week) is linked to a lower risk of death (here 40% lower risk from any cause for elderly men). The researchers said the increased physical activity levels was as good for health as giving up smoking, and the men who regularly engaged in moderate to vigorous activity lived on average 5 years longer then sedentary men. In this study the men had been observed over a 12 year period. From Science Daily:

Half hour of physical activity 6 days a week linked to 40 percent lower risk of early death

Thirty minutes of physical activity -- irrespective of its intensity -- six days a week is linked to a 40 percent lower risk of death from any cause among elderly men, finds new research. Boosting physical activity levels in this age group seems to be as good for health as giving up smoking, the findings suggest.

The researchers base their findings on people taking part in the Oslo Study, which invited almost 26,000 men born between 1923 and 1932 for a health check in 1972-3 (Oslo I).Some 15,000 agreed....These were categorised as sedentary (watching TV/reading); light (walking or cycling, including to and from work for at least 4 hours a week); moderate (formal exercise, sporting activities, heavy gardening for at least 4 hours a week); and vigorous (hard training or competitive sports several times a week).

Some 6000 of the surviving men repeated the process in 2000 (Oslo II) and were monitored for almost 12 years to see if physical activity level over time was associated with a lowered risk of death from cardiovascular disease, or any cause, and if its impact were equivalent to quitting smoking.During the monitoring period, 2154 out of the 5738 men who had gone through both health checks died.

The analysis indicated that less than an hour a week of light physical activity was not associated with any meaningful reduction in risk of death from any cause. But more than an hour was linked to a 32% to 56% lower risk.

Less than an hour of vigorous physical activity, on the other hand, was linked to a reduction in risk of between 23% and 37% for cardiovascular disease and death from any cause.The more time spent doing vigorous exercise the lower the risk seemed to be, falling by between 36% and 49%.And men who regularly engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity during their leisure time lived five years longer, on average, than those who were classified as sedentary.