Research Supports Importance of Activity Among Those 80-Plus Years Old

by michellerogers on October 5, 2009

A little physical activity can go a long way toward extending life for people in their mid to late 80s, Israeli researchers report.

The three-year survival rate was about three times higher for active 85-year-olds compared with those who were inactive. Getting less than four hours of exercise a week was considered inactive; getting more than that was active.

Exercise provided benefits even for previously sedentary 85-year-olds, as their three-year survival rate was double that of inactive 85-year-olds. Walking at least four hours weekly counted as activity, even if it was in just 15-minute strolls a few times daily.

“As little as four hours a week was as beneficial as more vigorous or prolonged activity,” said study author Dr. Jeremy Jacobs of Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center.

According to a Miami Herald article, active octogenarians also reported less depression and loneliness and a greater ability to perform daily tasks.

Similar benefits have been shown in people in their 60s and 70s, but there has been little research about exercise for people in their 80s.

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