A 10-minute daily walk could be enough to save the lives of those in their 80s, a study suggests.
The research on more than 7,000 eight-year-olds found that those who walked for at least an hour a week had a 40 percent lower mortality rate than their more sedentary peers.
The study, which will be presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s annual congress in Barcelona this weekend, followed older people for five years.
Participants completed a leisure-time physical activity questionnaire, which asked how much time was spent each week on slow-paced walking, moderate-intensity activity such as cycling and brisk walking, and vigorous-intensity activity such as running.
The average age of the participants was 87 years, and more than two-thirds were women.
Only 66% of men and 58% of women meet the activity targets
Regardless of age, adults are recommended to do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity.
Only 66 per cent of men and 58 per cent of women of all ages meet the targets, and the level of activity declines in older age.
Researchers analyzed the associations between walking, all-cause mortality, and cardiovascular mortality after adjusting for energy expended in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.
Compared with inactive individuals, those who walked at least one hour per week had a 40 percent and 39 percent lower relative risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, respectively.
Dr Moo-Nyun Jin, the author of the study at Inje University Sanggye Paik Hospital in Seoul, said: “Adults are less likely to meet activity recommendations as they get older.
“Our study suggests that walking at least one hour each week is beneficial for people aged 85 and older. Simply put, walk for 10 minutes every day.”
Dr Jin added: “Walking was associated with a lower likelihood of dying in older adults, regardless of whether or not they did any moderate to vigorous physical activity.
“Identifying the minimum amount of exercise that can benefit the elderly is an important goal since recommended activity levels can be difficult to achieve.
“It’s never too late to get active”
Chloe MacArthur, a senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Regular physical activity is good for us at all ages as it helps maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These are essential for to reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke, and improve the quality of life.
“It’s never too late to get active. Start small and try to incorporate more movement into your daily routine, whether it’s doing housework, gardening or going for a brisk walk.
“For anyone who is not mobile, chair-based exercises that can be done at home can also be beneficial. You will find that your active minutes will soon start to increase.”
This study examined the association between walking and the risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality among adults aged 85 years and older who underwent the Korean National Health Screening Program between 2009 and 2014.