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Physical activity promotes longevity

17 Apr 2018

Higher levels of physical activity may help prolong healthy and chronic disease-free years in both men and women, but more in individuals with low than with high occupational status, a study reports.

The study included 34,379 women (mean age 53.2 years) and 8,381 men (mean age 53.6 years) from the Finnish Public Sector study. Self-reported physical activity levels (inactive to vigorously active) were categorized into three occupational statuses at the first observation point. Partial life expectancy (LE) between ages 50–75 years was defined using two health indicators (average follow-up time, 6.8 years): healthy LE based on self-rated health and chronic disease-free LE based on chronic diseases.

Results showed a clear dose–response relationship between higher physical activity levels and increased healthy and chronic disease-free LE in men and women, and within occupational statuses. Compared with inactive men and women, vigorously active individuals lived 6.3 years longer in good health and 2.9 years longer without chronic diseases between ages 50–75 years.

Of note, the beneficial effect of higher levels of physical activity on healthy LE was most pronounced in individuals with low occupation status (eg, maintenance workers and cleaners).

Researchers pointed out that the present data extend the findings that have shown physical activity to be associated with reduced prevalence of chronic diseases and lowered mortality risk in a dose–response manner.

Doing exercises and reducing sedentary time promote healthy ageing, primarily because physical activity improves endurance and strength, prevents falls, and protects against disability, cognitive decline and dementia among older people. [J Physiother 2012;58:145-156; Ageing Res Rev 2013;12:329-338; BMC Public Health 2014;14:510]

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Most Read Articles
2 days ago
No association exists between physical activity and the risk of urological cancer, according to a population-based prospective study in Japan.
12 Feb 2019
Olanzapine confers a modest therapeutic effect on weight compared with placebo in adult outpatients with anorexia nervosa, a study has shown. However, it does not appear to offer significant benefit for psychological symptoms.
3 days ago
Patients with childhood-onset inflammatory bowel disease are more likely to die than the general population, a study suggests.
3 days ago
Reduced caloric intake results in a significant improvement in glucose metabolism and body-fat composition, including liver-fat content, according to a study. Changes in ferritin levels appear to mediate the striking reduction in liver fat.