Just 10 minutes a day of light exercise, like washing the dishes or sweeping the floor, could make a difference to older people’s health, scientists revealed.
The researchers looked at data from approximately 3,000 people aged 50 to 79 who wore ultra-sensitive activity trackers, called accelerometers, for seven days. Their mortality for the next eight years was also tracked.
The least active people were five times more likely to die during the next eight years than the most active people, the research, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, found.
“When we compare people who exercise the same amount, those who sit less and move around more tend to live longer,” said Ezra Fishman, the lead author on the paper.
“The folks who were walking around, washing the dishes, sweeping the floor tended to live longer than the people who were sitting at a desk,” he added.
Even adding just 10 minutes per day of light activity could make a difference, they said, and replacing 30 minutes of sedentary time with light or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity produced even better results.
Fishman stated: “You didn’t have to even get a good sweat to experience the reduced likelihood of mortality, activity doesn’t have to be especially vigorous to be beneficial. That’s the public health message.”
The researchers are now calling on public health officials to get more creative about ways to encourage people to move more.
“When it comes to physical activity,” Fishman said, “more is better than less, and anything is better than nothing”.