Exercising Daily Or Quitting Smoking Equally Beneficial In Old Age

Researchers said Friday that elderly men who do 30 minutes of physical activity six days a week are likely to live longer than their couch-potato counterparts. For men in this age group, just a small amount of regular exercise – regardless of intensity – is as beneficial as giving up smoking.
The evidence comes from a major project in Norway called the Oslo Study. The researchers were struck by the impact of regular physical exercise when the volunteers were aged in their seventies or eighties. Among those who exercised vigorously – defined as hard training several times a week – the lifespan was as much as five years longer than among those who were sedentary. But even when this is taken into account, the benefits of regular exercise were clear. The authors said, “Physical activity should be targeted to the same extent as smoking with respect to public health prevention efforts in the elderly."