The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that adults aged 65 and older should aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week. This is in addition to at least 2 or more days of muscle-strengthening exercise per week. However, many individuals in this age group don't fulfill the recommendations. The good news is that even small amounts of physical activity can be beneficial.
A study presented at the EuroPrevent 2016 meeting suggested that just 15 minutes of daily exercise can yield a positive response. The conclusion was based on data from two studies involving more than 123,000 subjects. The researchers looked at weekly physical activity records and death rates, and found that as activity levels increased, death rates declined. Subjects classified as highly active had a 35% lower risk of death during the study. However, subjects at the lower end of the activity spectrum--who exercised for just 15 minutes per day--still saw their risk decrease by 22%.
These two studies show that the more physical activity older adults do, the greater the health benefit. The implications of this research are also likely true for adults younger than 65.
Do you meet these activity recommendations currently? If not, you can start by adding in short bouts of exercise until you are achieving the recommended amount of time. If you are meeting these recommendations, congratulations! Keep up the good work and keep in mind that going over the recommendations only yields greater benefits.
Do you know others who are not currently meeting the minimum exercise requirements that could benefit from incorporating more exercise into their lives? Please pass along the findings of this research. If you or anyone you know would like help in achieving the health benefits of exercise, I'd be be happy to meet and discuss some solutions.
The study appeared in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (2015; 49 , 1262-67).