Irrespective of age, individuals are advised to perform a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity every week, or an equal combination. Sedentary time however tends to increase with age while the amount of physical activity is reduced.
Individuals are less likely to meet activity recommendations as they age. This study indicates that walking a minimum of 1 hour each week is of benefit to individuals who are 85 and older.
This study looked at the association between walking and the risks of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in individuals aged 85 years and older. The study included information on 7,047 participants who were 85 years or older.
A questionnaire was completed by the participants regarding leisure-time physical activity asking how long they walked at a slow pace every week, moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking and cycling, and vigorous-intensity activity like running.
The average age of the individuals was 87 years and 4,813 were women. They were allocated into five groups based on the time spent walking at a slow pace every week.
About 4,051 of them performed no slow walking, 597 walked less than 1 hour, 849 walked 1 to 2 hours, 610 walked 2 to 3 hours, and 940 walked more than 3 hours per week.
Out of the total of 7,047 individuals, 1,037 of them performed moderate-intensity physical activity, and 773 performed vigorous-intensity physical activity.
Only 538 of them adhered to the recommended moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity guidelines. Out of the 2,996 individuals who walked at a slow pace every week, 999 also engaged in physical activity of moderate or vigorous intensity.
The associations were analyzed between walking, cardiovascular mortality, and all-cause mortality after adjustments were made for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity energy expenditure.
In comparison to individuals who were inactive, those walking a minimum of 1 hour per week had 39% and 40% lower relative risks of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality, respectively.
Walking was associated with a reduced chance of dying in older individuals, irrespective of whether or not they did any moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity.
The study shows that walking for even only 1 hour every week is beneficial to individuals who are 85 and older in comparison to complete inactivity.