The study, published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, noted that 30 minutes of light physical activity per day lowers the mortality risk by 12 percent while an additional 30 minutes of moderate activities, such as bicycling at a leisurely pace or brisk walking, reduced the risk by 39 percent. At the same time, it can also prevent the risk of chronic diseases.
‘Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health. The key is to find the right exercise for you. Light physical activity per day lowers the mortality risk in older women.’
"Every movement counts," said Andrea LaCroix, Professor at the University of California in San Diego, the US.
"A lot of what we do on a daily basis is improving our health, such as walking to the mail box, strolling around the neighborhood, folding clothes and straightening up the house. Activities like these account for more than 55 percent of how older individuals get their daily activity," LaCroix added.
The researchers followed 6,000 women, aged between 65 to 99 years, for a period of four and a half years. The women were recommended to wear a measuring device called an accelerometer on their hip around-the-clock for seven days while going about their daily activities.
The study found that women do not have to run marathons daily to stay healthy. But the paradigm needs to shift in terms of women staying physically fit.
"Older people expend more energy doing the same kinds of activities they did when younger, so their daily movement has to accommodate for this. Think of it as taking a pill (activity level) at different doses (amounts of time) depending on the age of the patient. It's not one size fits all," LaCroix noted.