Scientists have shown that any exercise is better than none. A few minutes of exercise rigorous enough to allow you to talk but not sing could help you live longer by reducing your risk of heart disease or stroke..
Even if you don’t do the recommended daily target of 20 minutes exercise you could still have a 22% lower death rate compared to 28% for those who did hit the target.
At present two-thirds of over-60s don’t manage 20 minutes a day and some take no regular exercise at all.
The results are based on an analysis of more than 800 studies involving more than 120,000 people aged over 60. The researchers, at the Université Jean Monnet in Saint-Étienne, were interested in examining moderate exercise that could be more easily built into daily life for the elderly such as fast walking, gardening and cycling. You could also avoid using lifts and go for a swim.
The researchers hoped to encourage more people to try to exercise, however little they could manage. “These findings may help convince currently inactive older adults that a lower dose of moderate exercise than currently recommended has health benefits”
Previous research has shown that even a minute of high-intensity exercise in the middle of a 10-minute workout could have impressive effects on health if done three times a week.
There is a gender difference in the results of exercise. Men who did some exercise reduced their mortality risk by 14% but for women it was 32%. This startling difference might be due to underreporting by women and over reporting by men however.