Study: Physical activity strongest predictor of survival in old age
STOCKHOLM, Aug 31 — In yet another study to underscore the importance of exercise in healthy aging, researchers have found that keeping physically fit can add up to six years to a person’s lifespan, making physical exercise the strongest predictor of survival.
For the study, researchers from the Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University kept track of 1,800 Swedes aged 75 and older for 18 years, between 1987 and 2005.
In the follow-up period, 92 per cent of the participants died, while half of them lived longer than the age of 90.
After analysing everything from their education, social network and lifestyle behaviour, the researchers concluded that of all the leisure activities, the level of physical activity was most strongly associated with survival.
Results were published in the British Medical Journal yesterday.
Overall, the average rate of survival among participants who regularly swam, walked or did aerobics and had a moderate to rich social life was 5.4 years longer than those who led sedentary, solitary lives.
That figure rose to six years for men.
Survivors were also more likely to be women, highly educated and non-smokers.
Meanwhile, a study suggested that growing old gracefully starts in young adulthood, after US researchers found that maintaining a healthy lifestyle during a person’s 20s can help lower the risk of heart disease in middle age. — AFP-Relaxnews