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Walking four times weekly for at least 15min is associated with longevity in a Cohort of very elderly people.
This study investigated the role of walking outdoors on longevity, controlling for individual and other life-style factors as possible confounders.
A 10-year cohort study was conducted with 152 self-caring and mobile, mean age 80 years, were enrolled in the study. Information on socio-demographic characteristics, clinical and biochemical data, diet, physical activity, smoking, depression status, cognitive status and anthropometrics measurements, were obtained for all participants. Cox proportional-hazards models were used to determine independent predictors of longevity.
During the 10-years of follow-up, 96 (63%) died. Old age, chronic diseases, smoking, depression, CD4/CD8 ratio and coffee consumption were significantly predictors of mortality. Over-all survival was highest for subjects walking at open air for 4 times weekly for at least 15min in comparison to subjects walking less than 4 times weekly (40% versus 22%). After adjusting for sex, age, education, chronic diseases, smoking, Body Mass Index and CD4/CD8 ratio, elderly people walking at open air for four times weekly had 40% decreased risk of mortality that individuals who walked less than four times weekly [relative risk (RR)=0.53; 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.32-0.88, p=0.01].
Findings suggest an independent and protective effect of walking on mortality and supports the encouragement of physical activity in advanced age for increasing longevity.
COMMENT: Interesting especially for those of us who treat older persons (or are older persons). While there was a clear selection bias, after all they were on average 80-years-old and there were no cancer deaths; nevertheless, we should take heart and tell our patients that the benefits of physicial activity continue into old, old age.