Seniors: Walking For Longevity
Even if you’re well over 60, walking regularly can add years to your life, and it might take fewer steps than you may think. Researchers from the American Cancer Society followed a group of men and women in their 60s, 70s and 80s (their average age was 69) for 13 years and discovered that even those who reported walking for less than two hours per week had a lower risk of death than those who were inactive. The study participants who met or exceeded national guidelines calling for at least 150 minutes of exercise per week – in this case, walking – were 20 percent less likely to die during the 13 years than others in the study. The researchers wrote that the six to seven percent of the participants who performed no regular physical activity at all were 26 percent more likely to die during the study than those who reported walking, even if they did so for less than two hours per week.
My take? These new findings should help encourage seniors who aren’t accustomed to regular exercise, and who think it takes a lot of time and effort to realize a benefit. Fitness expert, Dan Bornstein says that a 20-minute walk four to five days per week is a reasonable goal seniors should strive for, but if possible, a brisk 45-minute daily walk is ideal. The exercise will enhance heart and lung function and improve endurance as well as help with weight control by burning calories. For older adults who have joint problems that might be aggravated by walking, I recommend swimming or water aerobics classes.
Alpa V. Patel et al, “Walking in Relation to Mortality in a Large Prospective Cohort of Older U.S. Adults.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, October 19, 2017, DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2017.08.01<
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