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If you want to keep Dad around as long as possible...

Jun 17, 2015 02:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Get out there and exercise with your old man, for heaven’s sake. According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, thirty minutes of physical activity—irrespective of its intensity—six days a week is linked to a 40 percent lower risk of death from any cause among elderly men.

Boosting physical activity in this age group seems to be as good for health as giving up smoking, the findings suggest. The researchers based their results on the Oslo Study which invited almost 15,000 men born between 1923 and 1932 for a health checkup in 1972-73. About 6,000 of the surviving men repeated the process in 2000 and were monitored for almost 12 years to see if physical activity level over time was associated with a lowered risk of death from cardiovascular disease, or any cause, and if its impact was equivalent to quitting smoking.

This is an observational study so no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect. But the differences in risk of death between those who were inactive and active were striking even at the age of 73.

More effort should go into encouraging elderly men to become more physically active, with doctors emphasizing the wide range of ill health that could be warded off as a result, conclude the researchers at the Department of Sports Medicine, at the Norwegian School of Sports Science, Oslo, Norway.

--Sarah Hagerty
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