05 Aug Even Low Dose Physical Activity Helpful In Reducing Mortality
Medical Research: What is the background for this study?
Dr. Hupin: Today, over 95% of the world’s population has health problems, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study published recently in The Lancet. The proportion of healthy years lost due to disease rapidly increased with age. There is no medical treatment that can influence as many diseases in a positive manner as can physical activity. It is well established that regular physical activity is an efficient strategy for successful aging. The 2008 Physical Activity guidelines for Americans recommend a minimum of 150 min of moderate-intensity (>3 MET) or 75 min of vigorous-intensity (≥6 MET) physical activity per week or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA). A Metabolic Equivalent or MET is a unit useful for describing the energy expenditure of a specific physical activity. However, less than 50% of older adults are able to achieve the current recommendations of physical activity. Thus, the prescription of physical activity for older adults needs to be clarified, i.e., what “dose” of physical activity is required.
Medical Research: What is the design of your study?
Dr. Hupin: Within the dynamic Department of Clinical and Exercise Physiology of University Hospital of St-Etienne, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis. Out of at total of 835 relevant studies, nine were suitable for analysis. These involved a total of 122, 417 participants, monitored for an average of around 10 years, during which time 18,122 died.
Medical Research: What are the main findings?
Dr. Hupin: General practitioners who play an essential role in promoting moderate and vigorous physical activity should encourage older adults to include even low doses of moderate and vigorous physical activity in their daily lives.
These findings may help convince currently inactive older adults that a lower dose of vigorous physical activity than currently recommended has health benefits.
(i) A dose of vigorous physical activity below current recommendations reduced mortality in older adults by 22%.
(ii) Mortality was 28% lower in older adults who followed the current recommendations of 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week and 35% lower in those who exceeded the currently recommended range.
(iii) The greatest reduction in risk is seen in those who change from doing no vigorous physical activity to some vigorous physical activity.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Hupin: We think that focusing on the current guidelines of physical activity may mean that the benefits of a low dose are overlooked in older adults. Based on the dose-response relationship between physical activity and mortality, we demonstrated that a dose two times lower than current recommendations could be a reasonable target dose in older adults. Fifteen min/day could be a reasonable target dose in older adults. Small increases in physical activity may enable some older adults to incorporate more moderate activity and thus get closer to the recommended 150 min/week. If more may be better, we think that “Even a Little is Good”.
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Dr David Hupin (2015). Even Low Dose Physical Activity Helpful In Reducing Mortality