Being physically active is associated with a lower risk for premature death among older adults, according to a study. Researchers from the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil noted that nine per cent of all premature deaths are caused by not getting enough physical activity. They explained that physical activity is known to reduce deaths from heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease, and mental illness.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, looked more carefully at the relationship between death and physical exercise among older adults in Brazil.
The team drew on information from the "COMO VAI" study conducted from January to August 2014. The researchers conducted home interviews with 1,451 adults older than 60. Of these, 971 participants were given wrist monitors to measure their physical activity.
They also asked participants about their smoking habits and how they would rate their health. The team learned about the chronic health conditions participants said they had, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, Parkinson's disease, kidney failure, high cholesterol, depression, stroke, and cancer.
The researchers then rated participants' ability to perform their normal daily activities, including bathing, dressing, getting from bed to chair, going to the bathroom, and feeding.
They found that people who had the lowest levels of physical activity had higher rates of early death compared to people who had higher levels of activity.
The findings suggest that low levels of physical activity are associated with higher risks of premature death, no matter what a person's level of health was, the researchers said. Overall, physical activity was important for avoiding early death in older men and women, they said.