According to studies presented at the ESC Congress 2022, adults 85 years of age and older who exercise one hour per week live longer.
Adults are advised to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate level activity or 75 minutes of strenuous intensity activity, or an equivalent mix, per week, regardless of age. However, sedentary time tends to rise with age3 in adults while physical activity levels fall.
“Adults are less likely to meet activity recommendations as they get older,” said study author Dr. Moo-Nyun Jin of Inje University Sanggye Paik Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea. “Our study suggests that walking at least one hour every week is beneficial for people aged 85 years and older. Put simply, walk for 10 minutes every day.”
In this study, adults 85 years of age and older were examined to determine whether walking reduced the risk of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. Information from the Senior database of the Korean National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) was used by the researchers. 7 047 seniors who undertook the Korean National Health Screening Program from 2009 to 2014 were included in the study.
The duration of time spent each week engaging in slow walking, moderate-intensity activity like cycling, brisk walking, and vigorous-intensity activity like running was requested on a questionnaire about leisure-time physical activity that was completed by the participants.
4,813 (68.3%) of the participants were women, with an average age of 87. Five groups were created out of the participants. 4,051 participants (57.5%) did not engage in slow walking. A week’s worth of walking included 597 (8.5%) walks under an hour, 849 (12.0%) walks between one and two hours, 610 (8.7%) walks between two and three hours, and 940 (13.3%) walks longer than three hours. Among the 7,047 adults who participated in the study as a whole, 1,037 (14.7%) engaged in moderate level physical activity, whereas 773 (10.9%) engaged in vigorous intensity physical exercise.
The guidelines’ requirements for moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity were only met by 538 participants (7.6%). 999 (33%) of the 2,996 participants who engaged in slow weekly walking also engaged in moderate- or vigorous-intensity exercise.
After accounting for the energy used during moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, the researchers examined the relationships between walking, all-cause mortality, and cardiovascular mortality. The three highest walking groups, those who walked at least an hour a week, had 40% and 39% lower relative risks of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality, respectively, than those who were sedentary.
Dr. Jin said: “Walking was linked with a lower likelihood of dying in older adults, regardless of whether or not they did any moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity. Identifying the minimum amount of exercise that can benefit the oldest old is an important goal since recommended activity levels can be difficult to achieve. Our study indicates that walking even just one hour every week is advantageous to those aged 85 years and older compared to being completely inactive. The take-home message is to keep walking throughout life.”