30 Minutes of Physical Activity Decreases Early Death Risk

A new study that was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine is showing that 30 minutes of any physical activity can help lower the risk of death in elderly men. If an elderly man got 30 minutes if physical activity 6 days a week, it helped reduce the risk of death from any cause by 40 percent. The researchers used data from participants in the Oslo Study, which was a study that over 26,000 men born between 1923 and 1932 were involved in. The study took place in 1972 and 1973 and was labeled Oslo Study part 1.


There were 15,000 people that took part in the first study, with their height, weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure being noted in the study, and they were asked about smoking. The participants were also asked to take a validated survey on their leisure time every week, which was helped to gauge physical activity levels. The activity levels were labeled as sedentary, light activity, moderate activity, and vigorous activity. Light activity was such activities like walking or cycling, and also included biking from work at least four hours a week. Moderate activity was considered formally exercising, playing sports, and heavy gardening for 4 or more hours a week. The vigorous activity included hard training or competitive sports multiple times each week. Obviously, sedentary was when the participants did not do anything besides watch television or read.

The next part of the study, Oslo II, took place in 2000, and 6000 of the surviving participants took place in this study. These participants were studied for 12 years to see if their physical activity over a period of time was linked to a lower risk of death from things like cardiovascular disease or any other causes. During the 12 years the participants were being monitored, 2,154 of the participants had died out of the 5,738 men that were involved in the study. The study analysis showed that less than 60 minutes of light activity did not have a reduction in risk of death from any causes, but over an hour led to a 32 percent to 56 percent lower risk. If someone had less than an hour of vigorous activity did show a reduction in risk, with as much as 23 percent to 37 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease or death. If you did more vigorous activity your risk dropped even lower to 36 percent and 49 percent.

The factors that impacted the risk of death, such as smoking, only put a slight dent into the overall results. The results ended up showing that 30 minutes of physical activity, regardless of intensity, 6 days a week ended up with a 40 percent lower risk of death from any causes. The researchers suggested that this would be like if someone had quit smoking in terms of the health benefits of physical activity and lowering risk of death. Although no definitive conclusions can be drawn from this study as far as a cause and effect goes, researchers say that only the healthiest out of the first group ended up in the second part of the study. This could have impacted the results of the study overall, however the researchers say that the results did show how much physical activity benefited people compared to sedentary lifestyles.

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Jeanne Rose
Jeanne Rose lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has been a freelance writer since 2010. She took Allied Health in vocational school where she earned her CNA/PCA, and worked in a hospital for 3 years. Jeanne enjoys writing about science, health, politics, business, and other topics as well.