Any Type of Leisure-Time Physical Activity Tied to Lower Mortality Risk

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

However, diminishing returns seen for high levels across leisure activities for older adults

FRIDAY, Aug. 26, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Being physically active through participation in any type of leisure-time activity is associated with lower mortality risks for older adults, according to a study published online Aug. 24 in JAMA Network Open.

Eleanor L. Watts, D.Phil., from the U.S. National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland, and colleagues assessed whether different leisure-time physical activity types are differentially associated with mortality risk among older adults. The analysis included 272,550 participants (mean age, 70.5 years at baseline) in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study with a mean 12.4 years of follow-up.

The researchers found that 7.5 to <15 metabolic equivalent of task (MET) hours per week of racquet sports (hazard ratio [HR], 0.84) and running (HR, 0.85) were associated with the greatest relative risk reductions for all-cause mortality, followed by walking for exercise (HR, 0.91), other aerobic activity (HR, 0.93), golf (HR, 0.93), swimming (HR, 0.95), and cycling (HR, 0.97). There was a curvilinear dose-response association with mortality risk, with low MET hours per week of physical activity for any given activity type associated with a large reduction in mortality risk, but with diminishing returns for each subsequent increment in activity. Findings were similar for cardiovascular and cancer-related mortality.

“Finding an activity that older, inactive individuals enjoy (and so may sustain) is likely of a greater benefit than choosing a particular activity based on the differences between risk estimates reported,” the authors write.

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