A recent US study has found that just 20 to 40 minutes of brisk walking can reduce the risk of death in elderly men by a whole 50pct.
By comparing the death rates in men aged between 70 and 92 who were sedentary with those of varying levels of fitness, the researchers found that for every two minutes of exercise the mortality rate dropped by 10 per cent.
The exercise tests showed that for every 100 men who died in the very low fitness group, 74 died in the next group up, 54 in the moderately fit group, and 46 in the high fit category.
"The overall message is that although ageing and death are inevitable, the rate for both can be modulated by simply maintaining a physically active lifestyle at any age," the Telegraph quoted Dr. Peter Kokkinos, from the Veterans Affairs Medical Centres in Washington and Palo Alto in California, as saying.
"Although I cannot guarantee that regular exercise will add years to your life, I am quite certain that it will add life to your years. It is important nevertheless to emphasise moderation," he added.
Kokkinos advised that exercise should be started slowly and gradually.
The findings were presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona.