Physical activity in old age lowers the risk of premature death

Physical activity in old age lowers the risk of premature death

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Physical activity is also very important in old age

People should generally pay attention to adequate exercise and exercise. Researchers have now found that sport should be practiced later in life in order to reduce the increased risk of premature death.

The current study by the internationally recognized University of Cambridge found that active men and women aged 40 to 79 years can drastically reduce their risk of premature death by increasing their fitness. The results of the study were published in the English language journal "The BMJ".

Sport and activity protect against premature death

The study of 14,599 participants showed that people who are physically active or do sports for 150 minutes a week can reduce their risk of death by almost a quarter. For example, a daily training of 20 minutes or five training sessions for 30 minutes per week is sufficient. However, the best results were achieved by participants who had an average activity of 42 minutes per day. These people reduced the risk of premature death by 42 percent.

Which activities are suitable?

The activities carried out included hiking, cycling and various other sports. Such activities generally allow people to benefit from significant benefits regardless of how active they have been in their lives. A higher level of physical activity and an increase in physical activity over time were both associated with increased life expectancy. If people were inactive at the beginning of the study and exercised moderate intensity physical activity for 150 minutes a week (20 minutes a day) for the next five years, this reduced their risk of premature death by 24 percent compared to people who remained idle. Training participants between 300 minutes and 450 minutes per week reduced premature mortality rates by 42 percent.

Older and sick people should also remain active as much as possible

The results are encouraging, not least for middle-aged adults and the elderly with existing cardiovascular disease and cancer, who can still achieve significant life expectancy benefits by becoming more active. There were 3,148 deaths during the study period, including 950 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 1,091 deaths from cancer.

Train your strength and balance as well

The results clearly show that people should not be idle even at an advanced age. The same applies to people who suffer from long-term illness. Daily physical activity is critical to maintaining our health, happiness, independence and social relationships. People are living longer nowadays, and increased activity in the forties and fifties later leads to a healthier life. Physical activity should not only include exercises such as running or cycling, adults should also do activities twice a week that strengthen their strength and balance. A good mix of different exercises can help everyone stay healthy, active and independent. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Alexander Mok, Kay-Tee Khaw, Robert Luben, Nick Wareham, Soren Brage: Physical activity trajectories and mortality: population based cohort study; The BMJ (query: 27.06.2019), The BMJ

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