The study was carried out by researchers at University of Western Australia who followed nearly 12,000 elderly men in Western Australia for over a period of 13 years.
The researchers found that those who regularly indulged in vigorous physical exercise for at least 150 minutes per week aged successfully, i.e. without any problems associated with depression, memory loss or functional incapacity, compared to those who were inactive.
"So not only were active people more likely than non-active people to survive, but those who were alive and active when we followed up had reached old age in good shape, without evidence of depression or of cognitive or functional problems. In other words they were able to move about and do their business without significant assistance - looking after their finances, looking after themselves, looking after their house etc, and they did not have any evidence of mental illness", lead researcher Professor Osvaldo Almeida said.