Regular exercise may help women live longer, regardless of their genes

Regular exercise may help women live longer, regardless of their genes
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California researchers found that physical activity of any intensity may lower the risk of death in women older than 60, regardless of their genetic propensity for longevity. Rob and Julia Campbell/Stocksy
  • Health experts state that staying active can contribute to healthy aging in older adults.
  • California researchers found that physical activity of any intensity may lower the risk of death in women older than 60 years.
  • Their nationwide study also uncovered more evidence that more sedentary behaviors carry greater mortality risk, regardless of genetic propensity for longevity.
  • The authors hope these findings will encourage older women to be active to reduce the risk of diseases and premature death.

In the United States, the National Center for Health Statistics estimates the life expectancies of males and females are 74.5 years and 80.2 years, respectively. For healthy aging, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that physical activity is key.

To find out whether physical activity had an advantage over genetics in promoting longevity, researchers at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at the University of California San Diego and other institutions conducted a nationwide study.

After analyzing health data of more than 5,000 older postmenopausal women, the researchers found that higher levels of light, moderate, or vigorous physical activity correlated with a lower risk of all-cause deaths. The findings expanded on prior studies that have shown that more sedentary time carries greater health risks.

These associations persisted across varying levels of genetic potential for living longer.

“[The] findings support the importance of higher physical activity (PA) and lower sedentary time (ST) for reducing mortality risk in older women, regardless of [their] genetic predisposition for longevity,” the researchers wrote.

Their prospective study was recently published in the Journal of Aging and Physical

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