There’s an older gentleman at my gym who plods along on the treadmill several times a week. He usually wears one of several hats that identify him as a World War II veteran. Assuming that he was at least 18 in 1944, that would make this fellow at least 89 this year. He could, of course, be several years older.
I mention this because I admire this man for continuing to move. A recent study, from Norway, suggests that by hitting that treadmill, even at a slow pace, this man is shifting the odds in his favor. The study looked at a cadre of men in their 70s and 80s, following them for 12 years.
The more time spent participating in vigorous physical activity, the lower the risk seemed to be. Men who regularly took part in moderate to physical activity lived an average of five years longer than participants who classified their leisure time as sedentary.
When looking at all the numbers, researchers determined that 30 minutes of physical activity, whether light, moderate, or vigorous, six days a week, was associated with a 40 percent reduction in risk of death from any cause.
My father-in-law is 75 and spends way too much time in doctors’ offices or talking to hospital personnel. Sometimes that can’t be avoided, but sometimes it can, as this study suggests.
Let me be abundantly clear that I am not yet in my 70s or 80s–or even my 60s or mid-to-late 50s–but I do hope to continue with as much activity as I can muster to squeeze at least that extra five years out of life and to get the most of the other years as well.