New study links light exercise to longer life expectancy
31st October 2013
Researchers at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm have conducted a study on people over the age of 60 and found that carrying out activities such as gardening and washing the car can be linked to a longer life span. The study will be welcomed as particularly good news for those who have a stairlift at home, as it suggests that those who cannot engage in vigorous exercise because of mobility difficulties can still experience the health benefits of being active.
The study demonstrated that the kind of light exercise that comes with carrying out everyday tasks such as cutting the lawn, DIY and even blackberry picking are good for maintaining cardiovascular health. While not as beneficial as going for a run or playing a game of football, for example, simple activities that are part of a busy lifestyle were shown in the study to significantly lower the risk of a heart attack, particularly when compared to leading a completely sedentary lifestyle by spending the whole day sitting in a recliner chair.
Being mobile enough to run or play a vigorous sport such as tennis tends to become more challenging as we get older, leading many with mobility difficulties to be concerned about their health. This study shows that even light exercise is beneficial to the health and longevity of older people, however, whether or not they also engage in regular, more strenuous workouts. According to the study that was conducted over a 12-year period, those aged over 60 who had a generally active lifestyle saw a reduction in their chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke by 27 per cent.
Dr Tim Chico, honorary consultant cardiologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, welcomed the news, and had some simple advice for over-60s: "Don't sit down for long periods; get up on your feet and do something you enjoy that involves moving around."
Read the full report of the study here, as published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
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