Natural health

Older Adults Who Burn Calories Daily Increase Their Chances of Living Longer

Volume 12 Issue 42

Here is more good news for older adults who get regular exercise in the course of living. Persons who include calorie-burning activities in their daily life reduce their risk of death over those who chose a more sedentary life style.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health recently sponsored a study that involved 302 older adults aged 70 to 82 years old. Researchers worked extensively with this group for 2 weeks to determine how many calories they burned in the course of conducting their daily activities. This calorie-burning activity was dubbed “free-living energy expenditure.”

Some six years after the original test, the researchers got back into contact with participants while collecting mortality figures at the same time. While 58 of the original participants tested in 1998 were no longer living, the rest were still available to provide results in 2006. The results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The best news to come out of this study was that death rate decreased as daily energy expenditure increased. For purpose of analysis, it was found that the persons in the highest third of the study in terms of calories burned had a 69 percent lower risk of death than those in the lowest third of the group in terms of energy expended. Specifically, it was estimated that for every 287 calories burned per day, an individual reduced their mortality risk by 30 percent.

It was interesting, according to researchers, that no single activity was sited as most significant in terms of results. Doing any kind of activity–be it walking, climbing stairs, engaging in high-intensity exercise or doing house work – all helped to burn calories and reduce mortality.

“Our study suggests that any activity energy expenditure in older adults can help lower mortality risks,” said the study authors. “Efforts to increase or maintain free-living activity energy expenditure will likely improve the health of older adults.”

Therefore, persons who have no strong interest or ability to participate in an exercise program can still benefit from the activity of moving about in the course of living. This may be bad news for health clubs trying to sell memberships to seniors, but it’s good news for anyone who has a willingness to get up and about in the course of daily living. Any exercise that burns calories can be beneficial.

Source: The National Institutes of Health Weight Control Information Network. “Young and Old Alike Benefit from Exercise and Physical Activity”. Winter 2006. http://win.niddk.nih.gov/notes/winter07/winnotes_winter07.htm#res-not2 and the Journal of American Medicine. Press Release. “Higher Levels of Common Daily Activity Associated with Lower Risk of Death”. http://pubs.ama-assn.org/media/2006j/0711.

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