Research suggests physical activity, at any intensity, can help you live longer

24 Août, 2019, 12:25 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • The report encourage people to keep physically active to help reduce their risk of getting dementia

During the 5.8 year follow-up 5.9 per cent of the 36,000 people in the studies had died. In contrast, spending a large portion of the day being sedentary, 9.5 hours or more, was associated with a statistically significant increased risk of death, with the team finding approximately five times more deaths among inactive participants compared with those who were most active.

Previous research has repeatedly suggested that sedentary behaviour is bad and physical activity is good for health.

The Norwegian researchers also found that too much sitting was associated with a higher risk of early death.

The study analysed existing research on physical activity and mortality in almost 36,400 adults aged 40 and older.

Ulf Ekelund, of the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo, who led the research, said: "Our findings provide clear scientific evidence that higher levels of total physical activity, regardless of intensity, and less sedentary time are associated with lower risk of premature mortality in middle-aged and older people". Although, the study says that these guidelines are based on self-reported activity, which is often imprecise.

A similarly steep decline in death rates was associated with increasing amounts of light physical activity up to about 300 minutes (5 hours) a day, and moderate-intensity physical activity of about 24 minutes per day.

Gavin Sandercrock from the University of Essex said: "The study reinforces the important message that getting the least active people to do even just a little bit more physical activity can have important health benefits". "This highlights the importance of avoiding spending most of the day sitting, as well undertaking purposeful physical activity".

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The researchers note that the study does have some limitations.

Intensity is usually separated into light, moderate and vigorous and the time in these intensities is then estimated.

The researchers say this strengthens the view that any physical activity is beneficial and likely achievable for large segments of the population.

The researchers point out that all studies were conducted in the USA and western Europe, and included adults who were at least 40 years old, so findings may not apply to other populations or to younger people.

Cooking or washing dishes were examples of light intensity, brisk walking or mowing the lawn were considered moderate intensity, and jogging or carrying heavy loads were used as examples of vigorous intensity.

They conclude that the results suggest that we should "sit less and move more and more often", adding that "developing ways to limit sedentary time and increase activity at any level could considerably improve health and reduce mortality".

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