Even 15 minutes a day of brisk walking, cycling or swimming could help older adults live longer, according to a review of past research that found any physical activity is better than none.
For people over age 60, meeting current U.S. guidelines for moderate-to-vigorous exercise was linked to a 28 percent lower risk of dying over about 10 years, compared to being completely sedentary. But even lower levels of exercise were tied to a 22 percent reduction in mortality risk.
"When our older patients cannot do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week because of chronic diseases, we（the 2008 guidelines）recommend them to be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow," said lead author Dr. David Hupin of the department of clinical and exercise physiology, University Hospital of Saint-Etienne, France.
Hupin’s team looked at whether less exercise could still be beneficial. They analyzed data from past studies covering a total of 122,417 men and women between the ages of 60 and 101 in the U.S., Taiwan and Australia.
The researchers recommend 15 minutes per day of exercise based on these results, but Hupin said adults who couldn’t even meet that goal would benefit by merely moving around more on a consistent basis. "Age is not an excuse to do no exercise," he said.