A report has suggested that older adults who remain physically active, or begin exercising, have increased likelihood of having a longer life and a lower risk of disability.
Dr. Jochanan Stessman and colleagues at Hebrew University Medical Center and Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, concentrated on the benefits of physical activity, mainly on middle-aged populations.
The researchers found that the benefits associated with physical activity were not only found in those who maintained their existing level of exercise, but in those as well who started physical activity between ages 70 and 85.
"Although the mechanism of the survival benefit is most likely multifactorial, one important finding was the sustained protective effect of physical activity against functional decline," the authors wrote.
"Despite the increasing likelihood of comorbidity, frailty, dependence and ever-shortening life expectancy, remaining and even starting to be physically active increases the likelihood of living longer and staying functionally independent.
"The clinical ramifications are far reaching. As this rapidly growing sector of the population assumes a prominent position in preventive and public health measures, our findings clearly support the continued encouragement of physical activity, even among the oldest old. Indeed, it seems that it is never too late to start," they added.
The study's findings have been detailed in Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.