Recreational activities can reduce risk of death in older people: Study


New Delhi: According to a recent study led by researchers at the National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health, older adults may have a lower risk of death from any cause, as well as death from cardiovascular disease and cancer, if they engage in a variety of leisure activities on a weekly basis, such as walking for exercise, jogging, swimming laps, or playing tennis. The results imply that older persons should take part in leisure activities that they love and can maintain because many of these activities may reduce their chance of passing away, according to the authors.

The results are published in JAMA Network Open on August 24. The NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study included 272,550 adults between the ages of 59 and 82 who answered questionnaires about their leisure-time activities. The researchers examined whether engaging in comparable amounts of seven different exercise and recreational activities, such as walking, cycling, swimming, other aerobic exercise, racquet sports, golfing, and other forms of exercise were linked to a lower risk of dying.

The researchers discovered that compared to not participating in any of these activities, getting the required amount of physical activity each week through any combination of these activities was related to a 13% decreased risk of mortality from any cause. Racquet sports participation was linked to a 16% risk decrease and running to a 15% reduction when they examined the role of each activity separately. However, lower risks of death were found for all of the assessed activities.

Adults should perform 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, according to the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Even bigger reductions in the risk of death were associated with the amounts of exercise performed by the most active people (those who went above and beyond the guidelines for physical activity), although there were diminishing returns as activity levels rose. Even those who engaged in some recreational activity, even if it was less than what was advised, had a 5% lower risk of passing away than those who did not engage in any of the activities examined.

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