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If you’re over 85 walking 10 minutes a day could make all the difference

The study examined the connection between walking and longevity.

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Senior Asian father and middle-aged son walk in the park, man caregiver helping patient, Happiness Asian family concepts
The study included more than 7,000 adults aged 85 or older. (Blue Titan via Shutterstock)

By Stephen Beech via SWNS

People over the age of 85 are being urged to do the "walk of life" for 10 minutes every day - so they can live even longer.

One hour of walking per week is linked with greater longevity in people aged 85 or older, according to a new study.

Regardless of age, adults are advised to do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity, or an equivalent combination.

However, in adults, time spent sitting down tends to increase with age while the amount of physical activity declines.

Study author Dr. Moo-Nyun Jin, of Inje University, South Korea, said: “Adults are less likely to meet activity recommendations as they get older.

“Our study suggests that walking at least one hour every week is beneficial for people aged 85 years and older. Put simply, walk for 10 minutes every day.”

The study examined the connection between walking and longevity among adults aged 85 and older.

The research team used information from the Korean National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) Senior database.

The study included more than 7,000 adults aged 85 or older who underwent the Korean National Health Screening Programme between 2009 to 2014.

The participants completed a questionnaire on leisure-time physical activity which asked the length of time spent each week on walking at a slow pace, moderate-intensity activity, such as cycling and brisk walking, and vigorous-intensity activity such as running. The average age of participants was 87 and just over two-thirds (68.3 percent) were women.

Participants were classified into five groups according to the time spent walking at a slow pace per week. More than half (57.5 percent) did no slow walking, 8.5 percent walked less than one hour, 12 percent walked one to two hours, 8.7 percent walked two to three hours, and 13.3 percent walked more than three hours per week.

Around one in seven of the participants (14.7 percent) did moderate intensity physical activity and 10.9 percent did vigorous intensity physical activity. Only 7.6 percent met the guideline recommendations for moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity.

Of the 2,996 participants who walked at a slow pace every week, a third (999) also did moderate or vigorous-intensity physical activity.

The research team analyzed the associations between walking, death from cardiovascular disease and death from any cause after adjusting for energy expended on moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity.

Compared to inactive octogenarians, those who walked at least one hour per week - the three highest walking categories - had 40 percent and 39 percent lower relative risks of all-cause and cardiovascular death, respectively.

Dr. Jin said: “Walking was linked with a lower likelihood of dying in older adults, regardless of whether or not they did any moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity."

He added: "Identifying the minimum amount of exercise that can benefit the oldest old is an important goal since recommended activity levels can be difficult to achieve.

"Our study indicates that walking even just one hour every week is advantageous to those aged 85 and older compared to being completely inactive.

"The take-home message is to keep walking throughout life.”

The findings are due to be presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday [Aug 28].

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