People who exercise above current recommended levels of physical activity are twice as likely to avoid chronic disease.
Researchers at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research near Sydney, Australia, interviewed more than 1,500 Australian adults aged over 50 and followed them over a 10-year period.
Those who engaged in the highest levels of physical activity doubled their chances to avoid stroke, heart disease, angina, cancer and diabetes – as well as dramatically increase the likelihood of maintaining optimal physical and mental shape 10 years later.
According to lead researcher Bamini Gopinath from the University of Sydney, the data showed that adults who did more than 5,000 metabolic equivalent minutes (MET minutes) each week saw the greatest reduction in the risk of chronic disease.
Currently, the World Health Organization recommends at least 600 MET minutes of physical activity each week. That is equivalent to 150 minutes of brisk walking or 75 minutes of running.
"Our study showed that high levels of physical activity increase the likelihood of surviving an extra 10 years free from chronic diseases, mental impairment and disability," she said.
“Our findings suggest that physical activity levels need to be several times higher than what the World Health Organization currently recommends to significantly reduce the risk of chronic disease.
“Some older adults may not be able to engage in vigorous activity or high levels of physical activity.
“But we encourage older adults who are inactive to do some physical activity, and those who currently only engage in moderate exercise to incorporate more vigorous activity where possible.”
The research compiled data from the Blue Mountains Eye Study, a benchmark population-based study that started in 1992.
It is one of the world’s largest epidemiology studies, measuring diet and lifestyle factors against health outcomes and a range of chronic diseases.
Resourse: Health Club Management