Results from a recent prospective cohort study found that higher activity levels in older adults reduce the number of unplanned hospital visits.
Simmonds et al. asked older adults between the ages of 70 and 90 to wear accelerometers to measure activity levels. Those who exercised for at least 25 minutes per day at a moderate intensity (brisk walking, cycling, swimming) needed 50% fewer prescription medications over the span of the four year study than their less active cohorts. Participants in the high activity group also had half the risk of emergency room visits than those in the low activity group. The results of this study contribute to the growing evidence that doctors should continue to encourage older adults to exercise regularly.
Source: Simmonds B, Fox K, Davis M, et al. Objectively assessed physical activity and subsequent health service use of UK adults aged 70 and over: A four to five year follow up study. PLOS One 2014; 9: e97676.