“TO DO” LIST of chores and errands – it could actually provide a variety of health benefits. According to researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. The study found women over age 65 who engaged in regular light physical activity had a reduction in the risk of mortality.
“Every movement counts,” said Dr Andrea LaCroix. She is a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego. “A lot of what we do on a daily basis is improving our health. Such as walking to the mailbox, strolling around the neighbourhood, folding clothes and straightening up the house. Activities like these account for more than 55 per cent of how older individuals get their daily activity.”
The 6,000 women in the study, ages 65 to 99, were followed for up to four and a half years. They wore 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 30 minutes of light physical activity per day lowered mortality risk by 12 percent while an additional 30 minutes of moderate activity, such as bicycling at a leisurely pace or brisk walking, exhibited a 39 percent lower risk.
“Improving levels of physical activity both light and moderate could be almost as effective as rigorous regular exercise at preventing a major chronic disease,” said LaCroix. “We don’t have to be running marathons to stay healthy. The paradigm needs to shift when we think about being active.”
The study also found that the benefit of light physical activity extended to all subgroups examined. It also includes different racial/ethnic backgrounds, obese and non-obese women. It also includes women with high and low functional ability and women older and younger than age 80.
To Sum It All Up
“With the increasing baby boomer population, it is imperative that future health guidelines recommend light physical activity in addition to more strenuous activity,” said LaCroix. “When we get up from the couch and chair and move around, we are making good choices and contributing to our health.” ■
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